I cannot hear your words as your actions drown out what you say. Our actions provide more testimony to what we believe than what we say, especially to unbelievers. How do our actions respect the Word of God?
To the weak I become weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I Cor. 9:22 ESV
We adopt good, honorable, and kind actions to win some unbelievers to the Lord. My actions always need to honor the gospel and avoid any way of intentional disrespect. Dishonorable actions never promote the gospel message. We strive the Philippian motto, “Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ.” (Phil 1:27, ESV) Our actions need to reflect the gospel’s worthiness.
Furthermore, when we share with others, we share the Word of God since “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” (Rom 10:17, ESV). So how we use the Word of God becomes quite important because the Word is what we want unbelievers and believers to hear, read and give attention to what the book says.
In Christianity, symbols become quite essential but unfortunately, some of these symbols take the place of God and become iconic items of worship. Other religions tend to the same actions and respect for their important symbols. While we do not worship the symbols, we need not disrespect them. Their extreme worship does not warrant extreme disrespect.
Martyrs face death because they refuse to deny Christ through a symbol. Stories of those forced to disrespect the cross or the church or the Bible numerously dot church history. Could they not have just said, the item is not God and just a symbol? Yes, but the meaning behind the symbol, especially those near them, points closer to why they chose not to disrespect the Bible or the cross.
My wedding ring symbolizes our wedding and gives me meaning to the promised vows, yet I will choose not to disrespect the ring by throwing it down to the floor or treating the golden circle lightly as if the ring has no meaning. Likewise, I do not worship other people who are made in God’s image, but I also do not purposely choose to disrespect them in the hope of convincing them of some teaching or idea. The ends do not justify the means.
The Word of God is the living God’s voice to us. Hearing, reading, and paying attention to the Word of God brings guidance, blessings, and faith. Unfortunately, other religions honor their book to the point of worship and form rules in touching the pages. In these misplaced priority situations, does this warrant disrespect on our part?
The above scriptures promote us to become all things to all men. They have a respect for a religious book. How can believers use this mentality for the gospel in how we respect our book? How we treat the Bible adds to how we can give value to the worthiness of the gospel of Christ. The Bible we hold in our hands is the word we want them to listen to and hear. How can our actions help with this? How can our actions hinder this?
On a few occasions, I have evidenced a teacher or a believer sharing with unbelievers by stressing the importance of reading and hearing the Word of God. However, shockingly, they want to prove to them that we do not worship the Word of God, so they throw, yes, literally throw the New Testament down to the floor. Thinking this will prove their point. However, the unbeliever thinks, I cannot hear your words as your actions drown out what you say. All they said, all the encouraging respect for the Word of God, just became by this action a message of disrespect.
One may be desiring to provide a shock and awe moment to prove a point, but extreme views on the worship of a book do not warrant an extreme purposeful disrespect of the Word of God. We do not worship the Word of God, but neither do we purposely dishonor it. We do not displace God with a book, but we neither attempt to degrade the Bible.
I have seen how this disrespect for the Bible harms the gospel. A few years ago, a teacher did this in a new believers’ class. There were 25 in the class that week, but after this disrespect, only five returned. In the course was a friend of mine who brought a friend. After this event, he said he would never come to church again. Why? His friend, who walked into a church for the first time, saw how a Christian dishonored their book and how others did not speak up concerning this dishonor. This form of disrespect brought harm to the gospel, and the testimony of Christ wained. This event continually disturbs my conscience. Christ suffered so greatly for the gospel, and did my silence or allowance hinder the gospel? I fear so.
Please, brothers and sisters, do not be gullible in believing that an extreme example of intentional disrespect will enhance the gospel of God. Whether to unbelievers or believers, the presentation of the gospel will always be respectful, honorable, and seek to promote value.
This article in Farsi