Liars, Thieves & Baseball
You know, as Christians we are told to love everybody. Love your brother. Love your enemy. But you don’t have to hang with liars. And you don’t have to be friends with hypocrisy. What? But I thought we weren’t supposed to judge!? That’s right. It’s not our place to judge. We don’t see the heart. We don’t see the motive or the maturity. But we do have a RESPONSIBILITY to protect what God has deposited in us. The Bible says to guard your heart with all diligence. Who you spend time with, where you work, play, live, worship… It all affects your heart.
Especially the Truth that’s been deposited in your heart. You see, everytime you read the Bible and obey it and hear a sermon and apply it and study and memorize God’s Word, you are making a deposit into your heart. Hang with non-Christians and you have an opportunity to place a “deposit” of Truth into their account. Hang with Christians who don’t live what their name is, and you are just “spending” money. You bank at the same place but your account balances are vastly different.
Deception has a sneaky way of rubbing off on people. If you hang with those who lie, you will become a liar.
Same with thieves. Those who hang with those who steal (be it time, little things from their workplace, joy, ideas, authority) not only will be stolen from they will likely become a thief as well.
The general principle here is that:
Bad company corrupts good morals. And we have a responsibility to carefully discern our companions.
You see it’s one thing to spend time with non-Christians. I actually like people who know they need God. At least they don’t pretend that all the idiotic things they do are because of God, or because they had a dream or vision. To me, it is easier to spend time with a sinner than a hypocrite. The worst non-Christian is better company than the best “Christian” who’s not really living what they have learned as a follower of Christ.
Notice I said what “they have learned.” You see, people are only responsible for applying what they already know to do. If you are friends with a new Christian and they do something or say something that you have outgrown but used to do also, cut ’em some slack! Everybody is in different growth curves and we all mature differently. But if you are consistently spending time with someone that knows to do good and they consistently don’t, than YOU are ACCOUNTABLE to move on and make a new companion.
You CAN’T afford to affect your growth by allowing the immaturity or ignorance of others to influence your attitudes and behavior.
We CAN be friends with people who are not Christians. Especially if they are OPEN to your influence. This is where you realize there’s not a mutual SHARING of common values. You are simply GIVING of who you are with very little reciprocation. In fact, the bigger danger to your growth as a Christian is if you become desensitized to another person’s attitudes & behaviours and if those attitudes and behaviors don’t follow Christ’s example. They say they wear the name of Christ? Then eventually they will show signs of talking like and acting like Christ.
You know, I would venture to say there are quite a few baseball fans out there who are watching the World Series & dreaming of their chances (future or past) to be a part of a winning baseball team. There’s bunches of us who have gone and bought the team jersey. Go Rangers!
But BEWARE of people who wear the team logo, say they’re a “major league player,” but have very little conditioning to prove they’re a part of the actual team. I’m not saying point them out and kick them out of the baseball diamond. I AM saying don’t throw them the ball.
Christians who consistently lie or steal don’t have to leave the team or take off the jersey, but they probably need to be benched. And you and I are NOT the Coach. So WE CAN’T SAY. But if you look beyond the bleachers and past the baseball diamond there’s a whole generation of hungry kids on the sandlot who are wanting to learn the true joy of serving Jesus. They want to know that authentic, truth-telling, kind, generous, non-critical Christians do exist. We CAN choose to spend our time throwing and catching with those who are truly interested in learning to be Christ-like.
It starts with examining your heart. Then choose your teammates carefully. And then, have fun! Throw the ball to non-professionals. Teach them. Give them a turn to run the bases.
Maybe you find yourself benched for your attitude? Ask the Coach to put you back in the game and get yourself conditioned again. We need you as part of the team.