Recently my family
and I went to the Scottish Highland games. We usually try to make
this a family outing to attend every year. My father taught us
to love our heritage.
The first time I attended
the Highland games I wanted to be Scottish in every way. I felt
I needed a kilt, a scarf, a name tag with my Clan's name on it,
a little Scottish hat perched just so-so on my head. I wanted
to listen to nothing but Scottish music and learn to play the
I have friends that
are Scottish however, and they do not have an interest in their
heritage, have a desire to wear a kilt, play the bagpipes or attend
the Highland games.
I did purchase a hat
and a name tag and a scarf, and I do listen to Celtic music most
of the time. But when I take off my hat, name-tag and scarf and
fold them away until the next occasion to wear them, the act of
taking them off does not make me "un-Scottish."
I am still Scottish
even if I do not wear the apparel of one. And my friends who are
Scottish and do not care one way or another what their ancestry
is, are still Scottish, although they do not appear to be outwardly.
Nothing much has really
changed in my attitude about my love for all things Scottish,
except the realization that I was Scottish by birth, not in the
way I looked on the outside, or felt on the inside. The only thing
that made me Scottish was the blood of my ancestors running through
This same attitude
can be found in many of us today. We tend to think we need to
look like a Christian, and be seen looking outwardly like a Christian,
and acting like a Christian. We need to carry our briefcases filled
with Bibles, with an extra translation or two, (I'm very guilty
of this one) to church. We wear our church clothes, put on our
church faces with church smiles and off we go to worship God.
But on our way home,
when a car pulls out in front of us in traffic, or when someone
shows us their short temper we tend to show our true colors. Christ
might see the need for the speedy person traveling in the car
that just cut us off to rightly go on ahead, and He might realize
the need for love behind the anger of a short tempered person.
He would see the family
that needed some extra food in the restaurant line in front of
Him. He would see the need for clothing on a small child playing
on the street. He would see the need a young Mother had for a
few minutes of silence and rest from her screaming child. He would
see the need of understanding a married couple displayed in their
fits of hurling insults at one another. He would cover all with
My point is that we
do not need outward appearances like a kilt, scarf and hat to
make us feel Scottish. We already are by the blood of our ancestors.
We do not need outward appearances of Christianity to make us
a Christian. Christ makes us Christian by our acceptance of Him
as our Lord and Savior and His blood that was shed for us.
Let's examine the Word
of God on this subject. Matthew 9: 10_13 states: Later, as Jesus
and His disciples were eating dinner (at Matthew's house) there
were many notorious
swindlers there as
guests.' The Pharisees were indignant. "Why does your teacher
associate with men like that?" "Because people who are well don't
need a doctor! It's the sick people who do!" was Jesus' reply.
Then he added, 'Now
go away and learn the meaning of this verse of Scripture, It isn't
your sacrifices and your gifts I want--I want you to be merciful."
For I have come to urge sinners, not the self-righteous, back
When Jesus visited
Matthew, Jesus hurt his reputation. Matthew was cheating the people
but Jesus found and changed him. We are not to be afraid to reach
out to those with different lifestyles, because God's message
can change anyone.
The Pharisees constantly
tried to trap Jesus, and they thought his association with these
"low lives" was the perfect opportunity. They were more concerned
with their own appearance of holiness than in helping people,
with criticism than encouragement, with outward respectability
than practical help.
The Christian life
is not a popularity contest. Following Jesus' example, we should
share the Good News with the poor, lonely, and outcast, not just
the good, talented and popular; and not just with those who have
the outward appearance of a Christian already.
In Matthew 23: 5_7, he states "Everything
they do is done for show. They act holy by wearing on their arms
little prayer boxes with Scripture verses inside, and by lengthening
the memorial fringes of their robes. And how they love to sit
at the head table at banquet and in the reserved pews in the synagogue!
The little prayer boxes
spoken of in the above verse were phylacteries. The Pharisees
wore them because Exodus 13:9,16 commands people to keep God's
Word close to their hearts, and they took this literally.
But these little prayer
boxes had become more important for the status they gave than
for the truth they contained. Jesus again exposed the hypocritical
attitudes of religious leaders.
They didn't care about
being holy--just looking holy in order to receive the people's
admiration and praise.
Today, many people
who know the Bible do not let it change their lives. They say
they follow Jesus but don't live by His standards of love. We
should strive to make sure our actions match our beliefs.
There's an old saying
called "true-blue". True-blue means unchanging, unwavering or
staunch, really real from the inside out. Let's be a "True-Blue"
Christian on the inside and live our lives as Christ did.
He didn't need a kilt,
a scarf and a hat to proclaim what He was to the world. He just
gave His life for those He loved.