Last week, I started digging into Iron Man 3 and what truth the movie could hold for someone with a Christian perspective. We went through how the way we treat people, even without thinking about it – usually without thinking about it – can make enemies. At the very least, can set up first impressions that aren’t easily overcome.
That scares me a little. See, I’m an introvert. The periodic discomfort I can feel when I’m in a group can paint me as antisocial. Am I creating negative feelings? Probably. It takes energy to resist, but the attempt is worth it in the long run. If you didn’t get to read how we can create personal demons, check out the link here.
The flip-side of this single (For those of you born after 1985, that was a reference to a re-cord – the precursor to MP3s.) is the positive impact that can be made on the people around us. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 says, “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” And in 2 Corinthians 13:11 “Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.”
In Ephesians, Paul gives a whole chapter full of instruction regarding how we need to act with others, starting in 4:11 and going half-way through chapter 5. I particularly like 4:29. “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
But if you’re Tony Stark trying to put on a mask to play nice, the behavior won’t last for long. He thoughtlessly hurt those people at the beginning of the movie because deep down he truly didn’t care about them. Didn’t care about anything except his own pleasure and that just to cover the fact that he didn’t like himself very much.
If you’re living with a Biblical Worldview, though, your insides are likely different from Tony Stark’s. You’re driven by a different focus and the Spirit of the Lord resides within you. As easily as Stark could act from the arrogance of a darkened heart only focused on himself, you can act from the grace that paints your own.
What decorates the inside of us, stimulates our actions and reactions. If we have to “act” a certain way and think about it, then something’s wrong inside. The internal and external aren’t matching. All that is to say that it’s actually easier for a person with a Christian worldview to make a positive influence than a negative one without any effort or extra thought involved.
But that painting of the inside comes from surrendering to God. Getting to know Him in a personal way and letting Him take over. Then the “fruits” of His Spirit will show on the outside without you even having to try.
Your Turn: Everyone has actions and consequences, both good and bad. What’s a good action and consequence that stands out for you? Or maybe a bad one?