These were new neighbors, mostly just nodding acquaintances over the south fence line. But the wife was a social creature who had been uprooted from her friends and moved thirty miles into the country by her husband's retirement dreams. As soon as I introduced myself, she was ready for a new friendship.
He, on the other hand, was a bit aloof and quite full of himself, quick and eager to list his life's accomplishments, most of which involved making money, and we didn't have any so we couldn't be too important. Still, she had talked enough about us to him that he knew the basics.
I had traipsed through the woods one morning for a cup of coffee, and as we sat there, he came in from an early morning golf foursome. To his credit, he sat down for a bit of conversation.
"Did you see the movie…" he began, but quickly stopped and amended, "Oh no, you're a Christian. You wouldn't have seen that movie."
That has stuck with me for years. Too many times I hear my brethren arguing about what is or isn't a sin. Most of the time, it's something one of them wants to do, or already is participating in that the other one has questioned. Isn't it odd that the world knows exactly what a Christian ought not to be doing while some Christians seem mystified?
Of course I understand that "what the world thinks" is NOT to be our barometer of authority. But Paul told the Corinthian church they were accepting something "that is not even tolerated among the Gentiles," 1 Cor 5:1. When he lists the works of the flesh in Gal 5:19-21, he begins with, "The works of the flesh are obvious," and ends with "and anything similar." The way some argue, you would think that what is and isn't appropriate behavior for a Christian is some nebulous, hard to decipher principle. God, through his apostle, says that anyone with an ounce of brainpower can figure it out.
What does it say about us when we cannot?
“Therefore thus says the LORD: Ask among the nations, Who has heard the like of this? The virgin Israel has done a very horrible thing. Does the snow of Lebanon leave the crags of Sirion? Do the mountain waters run dry, the cold flowing streams? But my people have forgotten me; they make offerings to false gods; they made them stumble in their ways, in the ancient roads, and to walk into side roads, not the highway, making their land a horror, a thing to be hissed at forever. Everyone who passes by it is horrified and shakes his head. (Jer 18:13-16)