“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” – Matthew 5:16. Who are the “men” being referred to in this passage? After years of knowing, reading, and repeating this passage, I only realized the answer a few weeks ago.
I have Christian friends and estranged-Christian friends (those who know the truth but stray away from practicing it) and often I felt a bit guilty about having estranged-Christian friends. It wasn’t because I thought they were bad people, or because I was doing bad things with them; it was because I was afraid that other Christians would think I was estranged or seeking to be an estranged-Christian as well just because of our association.
These friends curse, and drink, and go to bars and nightclubs. These friends also call me to pray for them when they’re in distress. These friends also quote the scriptures they learned as children to uplift me when I’m down. These friends text me when they’re listening to one of my favorite gospel songs because it made them think of me. And a few weeks ago when one of them called and said, “I’m turning my life around, I’m reading my Bible, I’ve decided to no longer curse and drink, I’ve started going back to church,” I realized who the “men” in Matt. 5:16 were. They were these friends.
How much benefit, profit, or upliftment are your “good works” to those who already know and glorify Him?” Not very much. But, to those who have strayed away from Him, it brings back to their hearts what they have been taught as children – to allow them to “glorify your Father which is in Heaven.”
I still have a long way to go because I believe the “men” are also non-Christians – those who have never believed. Mark 2:15-17 says, “And it came to pass, that, as Jesus sat at meat in his house, many publicans and sinners sat also together with Jesus and his disciples: for there were many, and they followed him. And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto his disciples, How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners? When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
If we are to follow in Jesus’ footsteps, we’ll need to hang out with some non-Christians as well – not to join them, not to condone their lifestyles, but to will them to Christ by demonstrating his character. Show me your friends and I’ll tell you who you are. What do your current friends say about your witness for Jesus?