Random Blog Clay Feet: November 02, 2008
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Sunday, November 02, 2008

Never Talk to Strangers!!?

I am noticing a trend that is becoming increasingly pervasive among Christians – at least in this country – that is imported from culture and is steering us away from the clear teachings of Jesus. This practice is based on fear which in turn is always rooted in unbelief. This trend is to avoid connecting with strangers or speaking with them in a friendly, inviting way. This has the effect of diminishing our influence for good and misrepresenting the truth about how God feels and relates to people.

Think of the classic instruction that we use to teach our children. “Never talk to strangers!” We have taken this to be the standard of truth for our families, but it has had a very chilling effect to isolate our hearts from bonding with others. Because we are taught to only socialize with people that we already know we lose much of our ability to expand our circle of influence and even strongly inhibit our ability to bond and interact with other Christians.

I have been thinking about this particularly since I have been making contacts on the internet with other Christians occasionally. The promptings of my heart is to connect with them on a deeper level and to even meet with them face to face. But immediately I am confronted with the rules of fear that pervades our society and causes us to be frightened of how much we allow others to find out about us. I know the stories about the way people use the internet to entrap and harm others. But all of this flies directly in the face of the way God desires us to bond with each other in the body of Christ. The fears of the world take precedence over the promptings of the Spirit trying to draw us into closer unity.

Compare these social standards based on fear with the teachings of the Bible and the words of Jesus.

Ex. 22:21 You shall not wrong a stranger or oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.

Ex. 23:9 You shall not oppress a stranger, since you yourselves know the feelings of a stranger, for you also were strangers in the land of Egypt.

Lev. 19:10 Nor shall you glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather the fallen fruit of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the needy and for the stranger. I am the LORD your God.

Lev. 19:33 When a stranger resides with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong.

Lev. 19:34 The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt; I am the LORD your God.

Lev. 24:22 There shall be one standard for you; it shall be for the stranger as well as the native, for I am the LORD your God.

Lev. 25:35 Now in case a countryman of yours becomes poor and his means with regard to you falter, then you are to sustain him, like a stranger or a sojourner, that he may live with you.

Deut. 26:12 When you have finished paying all the tithe of your increase in the third year, the year of tithing, then you shall give it to the Levite, to the stranger, to the orphan and to the widow, that they may eat in your towns and be satisfied.

Ps. 146:9 The LORD protects the strangers; He supports the fatherless and the widow, But He thwarts the way of the wicked.

Isa. 14:1 When the LORD will have compassion on Jacob and again choose Israel, and settle them in their own land, then strangers will join them and attach themselves to the house of Jacob.

Jer. 14:8 O Hope of Israel, its Savior in time of distress, why are You like a stranger in the land or like a traveler who has pitched his tent for the night?

Mt. 25:35 'For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in.'

Mt. 25:43-46 "'I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.' Then they themselves also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?'

"Then He will answer them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.' These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."

Eph. 2:12 Remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.

Eze. 16:49 Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had arrogance, abundant food and careless ease, but she did not help the poor and needy.

Heb. 13:2 Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.

3John 1:4-6 I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth. Beloved, you are acting faithfully in whatever you accomplish for the brethren, and especially when they are strangers; and they have testified to your love before the church.

I understand the logic that we use for teaching our children not to talk to strangers. But tell me this; when are they supposed to stop following these rules we set down for children in this respect and suddenly start reaching out to strangers to introduce them to the real truth about God?

What is really happening is that we are raising up generations of people who are conditioned and taught to withdraw from others in fear, and then we wonder why we struggle so much to get people to “witness” for Jesus. We cannot teach people one thing and then expect the opposite results later on in their life. The real underlying problem here I believe is a patent failure to trust in God ourselves and that is what we are really passing on to the next generation. Because we do not live lives of real faith and trust in a covenant relationship with God, we are afraid that strangers will have more power to hurt us and our children than God has to protect us and our children.

Do not think that I am advocating foolishness in the way we expose our kids to danger or that I am unaware of the dangers all around us. What I am saying is that we are allowing the practices and assumptions of the world that tries to protect itself by using fear and self-defensiveness to supplant the clear teachings that reveal to us the way the kingdom of God is to be experienced in our lives.

Instead of teaching our children principles of isolation based on fear, we should be filling their minds and hearts with stories, teachings and experiences that allow them to develop faith and confidence in the power of God to protect and guide them as they learn to follow the promptings of His Spirit and introduce others to Jesus. Children are actually far more sensitive to picking up the messages in the spirit realm than most adults are. So instead of teaching them to suppress and handicap their spirit sensitivity we should be training them to tune into the right Spirit and learn to discern and test the spirits that they can sense in their hearts more easily than we can.

I rather suspect that if we would shift our focus into training our children and even our adults to be more sensitive to the Holy Spirit and leave off promoting fear as our main motivation for behavior, we may find that our children could become our instructors at times and would begin to help us be more sensitive to hearing the voice of God for our own souls. For I believe that most all of us are still very immature when it comes to hearing the voice of God and following the promptings of His Spirit.