Gideon Bibles can be found in hotel/motel rooms all across the world. I remember being given a small “pocket” Bible by the Gideon’s when I was in grade school. Hard to believe that there was a time when giving out Bibles in government schools was allowed. To date, the Gideon’s have distributed over 2 Billion Scriptures. That’s billion with a “B”.
With as much traveling as I do, I get to spend a lot of time in hotel rooms. Most of the time I will look in one of the drawers, usually the nightstand by the bed, and there is always a Gideon Bible. I just find some comfort in it being there. There is no telling how many people have looked at that Bible or better yet, picked it up and read it. Even though I carry my Bible with me when I travel, I still look to see if there is one in the room.
Not once, when I have stayed in a hotel room, have I had the Gideon Bible jump out of the drawer or start screaming that it’s there. Not once have I had an employee at a hotel make me look for it or read it for that matter. Yet, the mere presence of the Gideon Bible in a hotel room has become offensive.
“So is my word that goes from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11 (NIV).
Our atheist friends at the Freedom From Religion Foundation are offended by God’s Word being readily available at check in. Annie Laurie Gaylor and Dan Baker, leaders of this highly sensitive group of people, want the Bibles removed from the rooms. Don’t you know that these two have got to be a hoot to be around. They claim that the scriptures call “for killing nonbelievers, apostates, gays, ‘stubborn sons’, and women who transgress biblical double standards.”
Looks like Annie and Dan have been reading God’s Word. More likely they had someone pick out some scripture from the Old Testament and use it to have the Bibles removed. If only they would read through the New Testament and find out for themselves what Christ had to say. But then they might be offended by their sin and that would make it awkward around the office for them.
Cherry picking scripture is nothing new. I’m quite sure it started not long after God’s Word was written for the first time. It continues today with those who claim to be believers and now those that don’t.
God’s Word is His bond. His Word is His Name. His name is His character. His Word is not just good, it is perfect, without defect, just like He is. It should be the same for us. So when God’s Word is misused or taken out of context, we have used God’s name in vain (see Our Daily Bread for December 16, 2015). It’s not just when we attach it to a profanity or slang that we violate the 3rd commandment, it’s when we twist scripture to justify ourselves or to make false claims.
“You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.” Exodus 20:7 (NIV).
God’s Word is the sole source of our faith and should be the absolute rule of our conduct. Because in return our word is a source of faith to those who receive it and it will determine their conduct. Our words matter, all words matter. We must honor God’s Word and honor our own words.
It’s easy to make fun of atheist who misconstrue the Word of God. But if I do the same thing, no matter the reason, I am no better than they are. It’s a pretty sobering thought if you think about it. I know I have been guilty of not keeping my word, I know I have tried to use scripture to justify my behavior, but I should know better.
“For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12 (NIV).
I have found that over the last few weeks I have an increased awareness to the things I say. It is surprising how many times I am prepared to answer with something less than the truth or a flat out lie. Even more surprising is that it’s for things that aren’t that important, there is no reason not to be honest. Have you become more aware?
We have three choices: We can tell the truth, we can lie or we can be silent. God calls us to be truthful. When we lie we subvert His will. It may turn out ok or nothing may ever come of it, but lying is never justified.
When the Gideon’s distribute God’s Word, they are spreading His Name. As followers of Christ when we speak or write (including texts and posts), we are spreading His Name. Are we doing so truthfully and honorably?
If we run to the cross we will find truth!