Everyone involved in "hammer experiences" knows about "sore thumbs." Hammers drive things--nails, tacks, loose objects. Often if it is loose, hammers tighten it.

Hammering often involves two problems. First, "things to be driven" usually must be held. The thumb helps hold. Second, hammers do not have "automatic guidance systems." Hammers hit indiscriminately. When they hit a thumb, only the thumb experiences pain!

After the hit, sore thumbs are obvious. All they do is get hurt, yet they are always there. Thus, ages ago sore thumbs became symbols of the obvious.

Christians should be society's "sore thumbs." Because they suffer? No. Because they constantly reflect pain? No. Because they are forever "in the way"? No. Because they are powerful symbols of social negatives? No. Then why should Christians be society's "sore thumbs"? Because they are incredibly obvious.

My point: people belonging to Jesus the Christ should be obvious in positive, hopeful ways in society. Their lives are obviously ruled by God through Christ. People must see God makes them who and what they are. People must see the benefits of godliness.

Telling society "the disaster" of failed homes is not working--and has not for a long time! Christians must demonstrate the blessings of a godly family. We need to show society the benefits of becoming godly wives, or godly husbands, or godly parents. Society must see the advantages Christ brings to homes. Those from ungodly homes need hope and encouragement, not rejection.

Telling society the problems of addiction and indulgence is not working--and has not for a long time! Our lives must reveal the benefits of godly freedom. Society needs to see something real but superior to indulgence's pleasures.

Telling society, "Money is not god; greed is destructive; and hatred is disaster," is not working--and has not for a long time! Society must see us living for something superior to money, serving something superior to greed, and confronting our hatreds.

We must show people. People must first see to develop a desire to listen. "Telling" is ineffective until first we demonstrate what we "tell" in our lives and relationships.

The finest "telling" cannot negate Christian daily lifestyles that produce horrible family members, or pleasure-seeking that opposes God, or unapologetic materialism. Correct doctrines endorsed by ungodly lives cause God to be rejected and Christ to be a farce. In Christianity, church membership must never be a substitute for daily discipleship.

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 27 April 2003

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