This week was part 3 of our "Tunnel Vision" series. We began the night by playing "Tunnel Vision- The Game". We showed pictures of our series graphic with the center missing, but part of another picture from outside the tunnel showing. Students had to guess what they were looking at before we revealed the whole picture. We then went into a worship set that included "Dancing Generation" (Matt Redman), "Starry Night" (Chris August), and "Running To You" (Newsboys).
I began the message asking the students to share some of the qualities they share with their best friends. What we heard was that friends usually have similar likes which makes their friendship grow. I shared that Belinda is my best friend and we like a lot of the same stuff. However there are some things we do not like the same, but it is not a big deal. But what do you do when you have a real disagreement or difference with a person? It affects how we view them and in reality we begin to view that person as inferior to us. We think that if they were just like us then they would be better. We start to think that they need to fit our mold of what a person should be like. The truth is our mold is irrelevant. God's mold or design for us is really all that matters. He designed us with the desire that we will seek Him first and have a relationship with Him. It is by His standards we are to live, not our own. So we looked at the thought of not having a tunnel vision view of other people.
We read in Romans 15:1-7 where Paul is talking about self-denial on behalf of others. Those of us who have been saved and now strong in Him and are to lift up and help those who are weak. It's not that we boast in saying that we are stronger than them, but we have been given the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ and it is our responsibility to lift up those around us.
We looked at how we should not let our view of people lead us into sin by:
1) Ignoring Them- Romans 15:1
We are not to simply tolerate the weaknesses of those around us but we are to help them by carrying their burdens and showing them love.
2) Gossip/Tear Them Down- Romans 15:2
We are to edify one another and build each other up. I have never been physically beaten up, but I have been beaten down by words time and time again. Our words have so much weight to them. We can encourage and discourage people simple with the words we use.
3) Keep You From Unity In Worship
We come to church with the purpose of unifying and lifting up the name of Jesus Christ. If we are attempting to worship and there is someone who we have offended, we need to make things right. We do not need to be a hinderance to others and especially not to the work of the Holy Spirit.
4) Think That God Doesn't Love Them or Can't Save Them- Romans 15:7
If we have been forgiven by Jesus, then we should certainly forgive others. Sometimes we see people who have committed terrible sins such as acts of murder and terrorism and we think they are too far gone for God to redeem but that is certainly untrue. Jesus died for all and we should pray for them.
5) Keep You From Sharing The Gospel With Them
Do not withhold the truth that can save them simply because you have a problem with them.
So in closing I challenged the students to consider how they view people. Do they view people from within the tunnel, not seeing them as the person God created and loves? I challenged them to make amends with those who they may have differences with. I ended with the thought to not let your sin keep you from sharing Jesus with others.