The 'Radical' Christian

 

A couple of years into our second term on the mission field, while we were still teaching at Christ's College in Taiwan we heard the news that a young minister and his wife had moved into Kuan Du: the little town just down the road from us. He was going door-to-door every day, sharing his faith in Jesus Christ with everyone he met. His goal was to start a church there. 

But as far as that ambition is concerned, Kuan Du has to be one of the toughest towns in Taiwan. It is largely known for its ancient Buddhist Temple that draws hundreds of thousands of Buddhist pilgrims every year; eager to perform 'bai-bai' in its 'Grotto of the Gods'. 

There was no church in the town at all, of course; nor even a single Christian, as far as could be determined. 

That's why we were all so impressed when Pastor Lin and his beautiful young bride showed up, fresh out of seminary. After a few weeks of door-to-door, he rented a little store-front facility, invited everyone to attend and started preaching his heart out, right there in the shadow of the gods of that temple. 

Christ's College, where we were, was just a half-mile up the road or so, and we all heard the news about the first Sunday service. About a dozen people from the community showed up to hear him preach and that was pretty impressive. 

But we were even more impressed by something that happened on the second Sunday Service. I think everyone else was too. 

By the second Sunday, even more people showed up to listen to him preach. He was, after all, quite a novelty in town. And about halfway through the service, right in the middle of Pastor Lin's sermon as a matter of fact, a young man showed up and stood in the doorway for quite a long time. A number of folks turned around to see who it was, because he darkened the room a bit when he stood there like that. Pastor Lin interrupted his message for a moment, to welcome the gentleman in. And so the man nodded, and started shuffling toward the very front row. 

But instead of sitting down up there in the front row, he walked right on past, past all the seating, up onto the platform, right up to the pulpit, where he finally stood eye-to-eye with Pastor Lin... 

...and spit in his face! 

Man! You know, there are some things you just don't see in American churches! 

Not yet anyway! 

A collective gasp escaped from the congregation and then everyone held their breath to see what Pastor Lin would do. 

He didn't even flinch! He looked right back at the man, nodded once and said: "Lao hsiung, yuan Shang-di jufu ni." ("God bless you, my friend.") 

For the longest moment, not a word, not a breath could be heard. The angry man became suddenly embarrassed; he turned and looked sheepishly at all the people who were staring at him, and finally stormed out. 

It was shocking. It was traumatic. It completely disrupted the service and the sermon. But you can be sure of this much dear ones: every person in the room that morning looked up in awe at Pastor Lin! They had already heard some of his message; now they were seeing it all validated right before their eyes. Here was the ultimate proof of the true Christian! 

You are aware, I hope dear Christian, that it is precisely during moments like that—moments of abuse, injustice and angry opposition—that your faith in Christ is proven true. Oh, yes! Beyond a shadow of a doubt! The ultimate proof that you're a true child of Christ; that you're the real thing; that Christ has made a real difference in your life, is the ability to love your enemies and even do good to those who spite you. 

Jesus specifically commanded this: 

"...But I say to you, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you...for if you only love those who love you, what credit is that to you?" Lk l6: 27-32 

This is radical stuff, is it not? It was the ultimate "new wine" in the skin during Jesus' day, and it still bursts the skins today! 

Our social and political climate today has never been uglier; am I alone in that assessment? How radical of us to behave like real Christians! And how desperately this poor generation needs to see it: in you; and in me! 

And what a wonderful privilege it is for us all to be 'tested' and 'proven' in this way. 

You're a 'letter', dear Christian; I hope you remember from our study a few weeks ago. "You are a letter from Christ" we read, written to all the world. 2 Cor 3:3 

So...what's on your 'page' today? 

See you Sunday! RAS 

Ra

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