Let us imagine that we are walking down the street of a big American city and we encounter the following people; a male of obvious means, a middle class woman with a baby, an indentured servant going about his task, and a carefree youth walking with her girlfriend. Now imagine we experience these encounters as a time traveler not once but in the year 1810, again in 1910 and again 2010 and finally in the year 2110.
On the surface the culture in each time period would dictate what protocol we should use if we want our encounter to blend in and not standout. But what if we want to present some evidence of our revelation and understanding of God to each of these people we encounter? Social protocol reveals the status quo and reinforces the social order between each person involved in the encounter. And that is what we can tweak a little because the evidence we carry goes to the heart of human social order.
If we only fulfill expectations of the current protocol our encounters will become lost in their memory and we will nearly always become background noise for the reality of each of these persons we meet. Likewise going to the opposite extreme will in many cases cause people to be turned off and reject the evidence we are trying to transfer. Today we live in a very pluralistic society and those that can adapt and match the social protocols will become effective ambassadors of God’s Kingdom.
John 18:36 (NLT) Jesus answered, “My Kingdom is not an earthly kingdom. If it were, my followers would fight to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish (Religious) leaders. But my Kingdom is not of this world.”
For every human we encounter we carry evidence for a trial that is going on in that person’s heart at every moment of their day. The charge is always the same. “This person thinks that they are a child of God.” The secular world says we wash our hands of this stuff and the religious world say those thoughts are blasphemous and they want to you put to death so that others will not begin entertain thoughts of also being children equal in the sight God.
Matthew 16:13 and 15 (NLT)
When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”
Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?”
The evidence we carry proves the reality of another world and it upsets and threatens the social order and the standing people have attained in this material world. More important it confirms our relationship and their relationship with God. If Jesus is God’s Son then all of humanity is capable to understand we are His brother. If we are His brother then we are children of God. This is radical thinking and these thoughts have already changed the world.
When I first became a Christian I use to hand out tracts of information but what I was failing to give was evidence of their already existing love relationship with God our Father. I carried a protocol that expected them to do something or say something to prove they were worthy, ready for me to accept them into my family of God. For example when we greet a brother or sister of our flesh we communicate on a level that only acknowledges a reality of what is already true (they are mine and I am theirs). There is a recollection of memories concerning our shared experiences of birth, relationship to parents, food we have eaten, clothes we worn. Why is this not true of our spiritual relationships within God’s Family?
Let us return to the original four people in our opening encounter. If we learn to be more mindful of the love protocol of God’s Kingdom then the time of the encounter will not matter. But if our encounters are based only on the protocols of the social order of that time period, then the encounter becomes a missed opportunity to transfer the evidence of our Father’s love. But the truth remains that God’s love relationship for each human transcends our materialistic interpretation of human history.
My encouragement is that we remain conscious of our love relationship with God our Father and Jesus our Brother as we have daily encounters with people who are also our brothers and sisters. People can tell if we believe that they are of our family or not. Strengthening our family ties is the very love evidence that Jesus bought to this earth realm. Love ensures that our encounters will be remembered. However if our encounters are without love they will have no power to communicate the evidence from the heart of God our Father.
John 14:10 (NLT) Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words I speak are not my own, but my Father who lives in me does his work through me.
Mathew 23:37 (NLT) “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, (people of religion institutions) the city that kills the prophets and stones God’s messengers! How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn’t let me.