Matthew 5:16 – “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
The early followers of Jesus were charged with breaking up homes, dishonoring their parents, lacking patriotism, practicing cannibalism and engaging in gross morality. It was true that Christians rejected the religious rituals of their pagan parents, that some family units were broken when young people chose to be driven from home rather than renounce their faith. Believers also refused to offer a pinch of incense to the Roman emperor and did not purchase images. But it was not accurate to say that they ate human flesh and drank blood at their communion service, or that they were immoral.
What were these Christians to do? Should they issue strong denials? No! Peter, in our Scripture reading for today, exhorted them instead to look upon themselves as strangers unable to accept the standards of this world. They were to make their conduct among the unsaved so attractive and winsome that their lives would answer every charge made by the unsaved accusers. Do you know what happened?
The behavior of the early believers was so pure and good that thousands of pagans came to know the Lord. Even those who hated the Gospel couldn’t help but admire the way Christians lived. And when a period of intense persecution came almost two centuries later, Christians were accused of ignorance, superstition and a lack of patriotism, but they were no longer denounced as immoral, cruel or dishonest.
If we who know Christ today would be lovely and winsome in our behavior, we too could make a greater impact on the world around us. Let’s determine to let our light shine and watch the Lord work in the hearts of the unbelievers.