A few verses up in this Psalm the writer talks about how the Lord rewarded them according to their righteousness. That because of the cleanness of their hands God was going to recompensed them. Next they went on to talk about how you will show yourself pure to the pure, merciful to the merciful, blameless to the blameless, faithful to the faithful.
Some people read these verses and think it means you are to be all things to all people. Like we are to pick our quality and show it when we choose to show it to the right people. Others get the impression you should never show yourself pure to those who are impure, or faithful to those who are unfaithful because we are to be all things to all people. That isn’t what this verse is saying.
In reading the verse it says, “to the faithful you will show yourself faithful” and so forth. The key is in the “you will show.” To those who are pure they will see you as pure if you are indeed pure. To the faithful you should live your life in a fashion that you will show them your faithfulness. Bottom-line is if we are a Christian then we will show ourselves similar to other Christians in a way they could spot our qualities a mile away.
The verse following this says to the perverse (wicked, bad, mean) you will show yourself contrary (different, opposite). Bingo, another key is thrown in. The key point being that when it comes to those who don’t follow Christ we should be “different.” Not different in behavior just different in the way others see us. To a rude person we are not to show ourselves rude. To an obnoxious person we are not to show ourselves obnoxious. No we are not to be all things to all people. We are to let our Christian qualities come out and those who have them should be able to see them.
When dealing with those outside of Christ it should read slightly different. To the rude show yourself as patient and kind. To the obnoxious show yourself loving and caring. To the bitter and angry show yourself as forgiving with the ability to let go and go on. It’s not a matter of being all things to all people, its being Christ-like to all people.
Believe it or not what others see is what we show them. How they perceive it is a whole different ball of wax for another day and an additional devotion.
© 2011 Karen J Gillett @ Pencil Marks and Recipes Publishing