"Instead, we have renounced shameful secret things, not walking in deceit or distorting God's message, but commending ourselves to every person's conscience in God's sight by an open display of the truth." 2 Cor 4:2 (HCSB)
I have never been a big Tim Tebow fan, primarily because I have always been a UT fan. I just never kept up with the talented Gator Quarterback. But over the last few weeks he has made a number of headlines. After stepping into a starting NFL quarterback role midway through the season he has faced a lot of criticism for how open he is about his faith. He's received a lot of other criticism as well, about everything from his throwing arm to his judgment. But considering that he is 6-1 as a starting quarterback so far, I have to consider that even those other criticisms only exist because of the first one - many people are uncomfortable with how open Tebow is about his faith.
Now, let me make this disclaimer: I still have not watched Tebow as a quarterback in the NFL. I do not know what he actually does on the field or what he says to the cameras, so my comments here are not directly related to Tim Tebow in anyway. But the criticism he has received put me in an interesting mindset as I read the verse above recently. "We have renounced shameful secret things, not walking in deceit or distorting God's message but commending ourselves to every person's conscience in God's sight by an open display of the truth."
I will be the first person to denounce hypocritical, showy acts designed to show off our own righteousness or make ourselves look good. But simply living an open display of the truth is something we are encouraged to do in scripture, and we are encouraged to do it to commend ourselves to every person's conscience. We are not simply to live good lives that we alone know are good. We are to live lives that work at people's consciences, that convict them and encourage them and inspire them. We are to live lives that people can see God working in and through so that it affects them. We are not supposed to make ourselves indistinguishable from anyone else while we are in public and then go do our good, Christian stuff in secret where no one can see.
Yes, there is a time and place when it is both appropriate and necessary to do good secretly. But we are to live our lives openly, giving people an open display of the truth so that they might come to acknowledge that truth as well. And when we do that, I guarantee there will be people who criticize us. There will be people who say we are being showy when we are just being ourselves. There will be people who tell us to lay off because we make everyone uncomfortable. When those people speak up, we have to know why we are living the way we are living and acting the way we are acting. Are we being showy? Are we trying to make ourselves look good? Or are we living an open display of the truth so that God will look good and people will be drawn to him.
I pray that I am living an open display of the truth.