by Pastor Mark Jordan
I had a moment the other day when I wish I had a V-8, AND I wish I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express. I saw a headline about the “sinicism” of the church, and immediately felt I was about to read an article with a certain message. As I clicked, I found a very fascinating article about how China is working to clamp down on certain aspects of Christianity. The word, sinicism, refers to a trait particular to the Chinese. Even though Christianity is still largely illegal in China, there is an underground movement sweeping the continent as people discover the Good News of Jesus Christ. As a result, the government is working to suppress things like messages of personal responsibility, freedom in eternal truth, dependence on God over government, and faith in Christ for salvation. It made my heart ache for the freedoms we so easily take for granted, but also echo with the memories of Mia singing, “Jesus Loves Me,” just moments prior. I feel like there is more I need to do to help promote the Gospel of Jesus Christ in this continent and culture with which my family is forever linked, thanks to our dear little Mia.
Yes, the global church needs help from the forces of cynicism seeking to distort the message of Jesus, but this isn’t just happening half a world away; no, we face it on a near daily basis in the church in the USA, and right here in our own community. Cynicism creates a cycle that feeds upon itself. It affirms disappointment, breeds discontent, spreads to others, and snowballs, infecting and affecting others. This is a sin that destroys as opposed to build in the name of Jesus. It is sin-i-cism, if you will, and is so destructive, because it distorts the message of hope we all need, knowing we need each other.
Check out 2 Timothy 2:14-17a, “Repeat these basic essentials over and over to God’s people. Warn them before God against pious nitpicking, which chips away at the faith. It just wears everyone out. Concentrate on doing your best for God, work you won’t be ashamed of, laying out the truth plain and simple. Stay clear of pious talk that is only talk. Words are not mere words, you know. If they’re not backed by a godly life, they accumulate as poison in the soul” (MSG).
How do you read these words? Are you guilty of sin-i-cism? Have you used your words to nitpick, criticize, and try to make yourself look better than you are, let alone the others you are called to do life with? Do your best for God. Dive in to a godly life, evident in all you say and do.
Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for your love of me, even when I fall so short. Convict and change me from my natural tendency toward sin-i-cism where I live so suspiciously of you and others, trying to claim the role as god of all. I ask this in the eternal name of Jesus. Amen.