Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Real People, Not Actors

Perhaps you, like I, have been amused at the latest round of Windows Vista ads on TV. As they interview individuals using their software for the first time, a tiny caption appears at the bottom of the screen: "Real people, not actors."

Now, clearly they are trying to convey these individuals are not paid to pretend they like something, but I can't help but laugh every time I see those words. (Are actors not really people? Lassie doesn't count.) Nevertheless, so much of our world is artificial, Microsoft finds it necessary to put disclaimers on their advertisement. And why not? With air-brushed models on magazine covers, plastic cakes in bakery windows, and disposable marriages in every other home, our culture (myself especially) is skeptical to believe or trust in truth and reality.

I've thought about this caption relative to Jesus, too. I wonder if he wanted to put a label on each person he healed: "Real miracle, not an illusion," or over the tomb: "Real death, not a swoon or faint." Most importantly, did he want to shout, "Real salvation in me, not according to what you can do."

Unfortunately, even parts of the church are artificial. People pretend to not struggle with areas of sin, believers act like their agenda for the well-being of the church is the only "God-approved" one, brothers or sisters in the faith snub or ignore one another while others get their feelings hurt each time the wind blows, and expectations for what you should be doing for God's kingdom or how you should be behaving at all times are based on human intellect, not Divine instruction.

Meanwhile, those outside the body of Christ see these behaviors and think, "I can't believe what I read about Jesus, these people are just living in a fantasy world of self-aggrandizement, not self-sacrifice." Artificial. Fake. Unreal.

And Jesus cries out again and again, "Beware of these [hypocrites]! For they like to parade around ... and love to receive respectful greetings .... And how they love the seats of honor .... Yet they ... pretend to be pious .... Because of this, they will be severely punished" (Luke 20:46-47).

In other words, Jesus wants to put a caption on us that reads: "Real person, not an actor." I wonder how many of us could honestly wear that label today?

No comments: