Arrest the Finger

If I Robbed a Bank

If, if, if, (please understand) IF I robbed a bank, I can imagine how things would turn out. Aside from being sad, it would probably be comical.

Personality. I don’t have the personality to rob a bank. I don’t like making people angry. It really hurts my feelings when people think poorly of me. I want people to like me, not want to hunt me down. If I were to rob a bank, my request for money from the teller would start with a “Hi, how are you today?”

The Note. What kind of note would I give the teller? It would have to be crafted in such a way as not to embarrass me if read in public. What if I misspelled a word?  What if I used poor grammar? What if I used a preposition to end a sentence with? It would stress me too much to think that I committed a crime for which I would forever be ridiculed for a poor choice of criminal words.

The Getaway Car. That’s a joke. Just as soon as the deed was done, my car would either die, or not even start. We have the worst luck with automobiles. And besides, what kind of bank robber drives a mini-van?

The Defense Attorney. Considering that I could not keep the money I would have stolen, I would not be able to afford a good lawyer. From my experience, most defense attorneys I have met probably buy shares in Orange Suits R Us.

If I were to rob a bank, I would get caught, convicted, and sent to prison for life. My name and reputation would be permanently ruined. The name of Anthony Charles Baker would forever be associated with the seedy, felonious, arch villains of history.

If My Finger Robbed a Bank

Suppose I never walked into one of those cool, new banks that have complimentary cappuccino machines and free back rubs. Suppose I just stayed at home with my little dog and a computer, but let one finger on my right hand rob the bank? All my finger would need would be the correct access codes, false identities, foreign bank account numbers, and an expertly manicured nail with a healthy cuticle.

Eventually, as these things usually turn out, my finger would get arrested. No, wait…I would get arrested, correct? Maybe it would take a few years to track me down. Maybe I would slip up and get caught while spending holiday (as the Brits say it) in Mont Carlo on my 90 foot yacht.

The fact is that I would get caught, and the reality would be that the whole body of Anthony C. Baker would be imprisoned, not just the finger. In other words, you can’t give the FBI the finger and walk away.

A Sinning Member

The finger is part of the body. And just like my finger is part of my body, I am part of the Body of Christ, the Church. The apostle Paul made it very clear that every believer is more than just an individual, but a “member” of the whole. Some, as he put it, are eyes; some are feet; and some are fingers (Romans 12:4,5; 1 Corinthians 12:12; Ephesians 5:30). Each one of us has a particular function, but each one in particular is a part of a whole.

So often we think that we can act with total independence and bear the consequences for our own sins by ourselves. Many, when questioned about unwise choices will respond with, “This is my life, so don’t judge me…I’ll accept the responsibility.” What they fail to realize is that their sins affect more than one individual member – they affect the whole Body.

If my finger robbed a bank, I could argue, to no avail, that my body was innocent, that my reputation should not be harmed, and that my finger should be held accountable. I could say, “Arrest the finger, not me!” How silly would that be?

The Body and the Name

When the world sees us, they see Jesus. Christians, by definition, are “little Christs.” We, by design, are the hands and feet, the Body of Jesus Christ on the earth. By our actions the world should see that Jesus  is loving and compassionate, but also holy and obedient to His Father’s will. What, then, do they think of our Savior when we live in open sin?

If I robbed a bank with my finger, the authorities would condemn me, Anthony Baker. If I treat my neighbor poorly, am unfaithful to my spouse, or harm my children, what does that say about Jesus? The  eyes of the watching world will say, “If that’s a Christian…”

As part of the Body of Christ, we are responsible for the name of Christ. In “the name of Jesus” we pray, but “in the name of Jesus” we also live our lives in front of the lost. They have a hard time disassociating the “finger” from the Body. The reputation of the Body (the Church) and the name it bears can be stained by the actions of only one member.

Something to Consider

It is not a pleasant thing to consider, but if Jesus is concerned about His reputation, would it be wrong for Him to remove a “member” for causing the rest of the Body, including the name of Jesus, to suffer reproach? That’s what He did in the book of Acts with Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1)?

Do you claim the name of Christ? Do you call yourself a Christian? If you do, are you living in open, blatant sin, such as fornication or adultery? What about constant lying, or gossiping? These are things from which we are told to “flee.” Why?  Because you are telling others that the Person attached to the “finger” approves of those things.

If Jesus takes His reputation seriously, to live in rebellion and unrighteousness would seem awfully dangerous. But I’m not pointing any fingers.

(Originally published in 2012, but still very applicable. Wouldn’t you agree?)

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Filed under Christian Living, Christian Maturity, Uncategorized, Witnessing

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