Throwing Stones at Cracked Pots
"For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us." (2 Corinthians 4:5-7 )
We can certainly say we are an "earthen vessel" having been formed from the dust of the earth by the Creator. But even more, as here in Corinthians, we are like a clay pot, fragile and easily broken. One good smack and we crack, not just physically, but emotionally and mentally too. The bumps and falls of mortal existence will take their toll and all eventually end up as cracked pots. Yet, it is these cracked pots that God has chosen to use to proclaim His light to the world. The treasure of the gospel is not secured in works of pure gold or even fine finished wood, but entrusted to weak, fragile vessels. Amazing -- a bunch of crackpots being used to proclaim the glory of God! Of course, we don't like to see ourselves that way.
To God, there is no difference between a big-time crook and a petty thief. Both steal. There is no difference between someone who defrauds millions of people and someone who tells a lie to one other person. Both are false witnesses. If that wasn't bad enough, Jesus makes it clear that even the desire in the heart condemns us. To hate one person, even silently, is equal to murder. Since there is no matter of degree to sin, there is equal sin between one who hates and a mass murderer. With that as the standard, can there be any denial that humanity is corrupt? It isn't very hard, and you don't have to look very far, to find something evil to rant about.
Any one with some time on their hands and a little money to spare can get themselves a website and have a platform to hurl stones at all the crackpots out there. It doesn't take much talent to smash a stone into a clay pot and crack, break and shatter it. What good does that really do in the end? Not much I think, because I see lots of stones hurled and yet the world just gets worse and worse. And, we would much prefer to smash the evil elsewhere, ignoring the cracks and chips in our own fragile vessel, than take a long hard look in the mirror.
"And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? . . . He lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. . . . And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one" (John 8:3-9)
So it is that whenever we speak against something wrong we run the certain risk of exposing ourselves as hypocrites. Yet we cannot deny truth! To not speak the truth when we ought is no different that to hold a lie in our thoughts. It's a bit of a conundrum. Shall we tell the truth and become exposed as a hypocrite or remain silent and allow evil to go unanswered?
It is easy to destroy a fragile clay pot by throwing stones at it. It is harder to mend the pot. It is harder even still to take raw clay and mold it into a beautiful and useful vessel. Rather than hurling stones at crackpots, perhaps a better idea is to carefully fit the stones together into an unbroken wall as a monument to the truth. It is said the pen is mightier than the sword. We can use our words to cut, maim, uproot and destroy. We can also use our words to bind, heal, plant and build. If we can find a firm foundation to build on, then our words can be used to build that monument to the truth that will bring light into the world.
"And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." (Matthew 16:16-18 )
This then is the treasure that we have been given: the knowledge of the gospel, that Jesus is Christ, Son of God and Savior of mankind. Crackpots we may be, but with this message, on this foundation, God can use even earthen vessels to build His Kingdom that will never end.