When we think of the word, we imagine a well-dressed government employee that works at an embassy, and has dealings with people in other nations. Most notably, we hear of them when the news mentions a political situation or negotiation involving two or more countries. Often, the ambassadors we see are well-mannered and have impeccable speech and behavior.
So, what is an ambassador?
In ancient times, ambassadors were sent from their home country to another, to represent the interests of that nation in another land. When that individual (or individuals) arrived, everything they said and did reflected upon their home land, whether good or bad. Conversely, anything good or bad done to those ambassadors was given grave notice by the country that sent them. To hurt or kill an ambassador was practically declaring war on the nation the ambassadors come from.
But has it occured to us, as Christians, that we too are ambassadors?
Just as ancient ambassadors were sent (and modern ones as well), we too are sent by our kingdom, to represent Christ and his kingdom. When people see Christians in all that they say and do, they are seeing what they perceive to be a representation of what the kingdom of God is like. When Christ sent his disciples out two by two,
he advised them on how to accord themselves:
"These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give. Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat. And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, inquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go thence. And when ye come into an house, salute it. And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you. And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city. Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves." (Matthew 10:5-16)
Jesus' basic marching instructions to them, aside from their specific duties, was to behave themselves inoffensively, to the point where if they were wronged, they were simply to shake the dust from their feet and continue on. They weren't to act obnoxious or offensively, but to do what has been asked of them by their Lord, and then return when the mission was finished.
We find similar marching orders for our own journey in Romans 12:6-20: "Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness. Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality. Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits. Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. "
But, are we keeping in accordance with what the Bible commands us?
Are we being ambassadors of the kingdom of God?
We need to be careful on how we act towards not only each other, but to those in the world in general. It is one thing that the Church is persecuted for following the ways of Christ, but when we judge another for a perceived wrong and then do something similar, or we speak evil of someone behind their back, the world notices. When we make fun of our leaders and refuse to pray for them, we are noticed. When we speak foolishly or coarsely, someone is bound to hear.
And our Lord hears as well...
"But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment." (Matthew 12:36)
And he will judge us at the Bema Seat according to how well we performed the tasks he has laid out for us: " For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad." (2 Corinthians 5:10)
"For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building. According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire." (1 Corinthians 3:9-15)
Whether we are quoted on other sites, or seen everyday by those that already have something against Christianity, our every word and deed is scrutinized. Too often, we are accused of hypocrisy when we preach one message with our mouths, but preach yet another one with our bodies and actions.
We cannot apply one standard to ourselves and yet another to everyone else; we must be consitent in all that we say or do. If something is wrong for someone else to do, then it had better be wrong for us too whether we like it or not. Right and wrong are NOT a matter of like and dislike; what we like and don't like have nothing to do with it. We may not like a lot of the things Christ asks us to do in his name, but keep in mind: when the Bible was written, it was not a position paper up for debate. God asked NO ONE for their input during it's conception; only for the authors to write what the Holy Spirit inspired them to write.
With this in mind, we need to remember that we represent Christ to this world, and that we need to give them the same portrait of Christ that we saw when we encountered him. To put it another way; if you were to witness to yourself in the past when you weren't saved, would you listen? or would you walk away because the message was contradicted by your actions.
Something to think about....