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Summary: Being a Christian doesn’t mean we’re actually acting like a Christian. At work, at home, in our marriage, with our kids, with the needy – do they perceive us as having Halos or Horns?

HORNS OR HALOS?

Deut. 30:19

INTRODUCTION

A. HUMOR: A butcher joke

1. Bubba walks into ‘Hal Mitchum Butchers’, goes over to Hal and says, "So, Hal, I hear that you’re something of a betting man."

"Yes," replies Hal.

2. "Well," says Bubba, "You’re a tall man, so I bet you $100 that you can't reach those pieces of meat hanging on those hooks up on that wall."

3. "I'm not taking your bet," says Hal. "Why not?" says Bubba, "I thought you were a betting man." "I am," says Hal, "but the steaks are too high!"

B. TEXT

“This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live” Deut. 30:19.

C. THESIS

1. We humans have both a heavenly origin (made in the image of God) and a hellish origin (the implantation of the fallen nature). We are a hodgepodge of good and bad natures.

2. In most, there’s a warfare between the halos and horns. On some days you see us rise to the heights of unbelievable greatness and self sacrifice; on other days, we may stoop to lying, cheating, treachery, brutality, or sensuality.

3. "Man," said Pascal, "is an incomprehensible monster." Isn’t it amazing how much God loves us?

4. Nowhere is this dichotomy and struggle more apparent than among preacher’s kids. The day Franklin Graham was born, he received a telegram; “Welcome to this sin-sick world,” the Western Union message said, “and to the challenge you have to walk in your daddy’s footsteps.”

5. It didn’t take long for Graham, the son of famed evangelist Billy Graham, to decide to go the other way. After a rebellious youth, Franklin found Christ. He now preaches and runs his father’s evangelistic association.

6. But for every Franklin Graham, there’s a Friedrich Nietzsche (the atheist philosopher whose father was a Lutheran minister). For every Condoleezza Rice, there’s an Alice Cooper (the heavy-metal singing, fake-blood spouting son of a preacher man).

7. Being a Christian doesn’t mean we’re actually acting like a Christian. At work, at home, in our marriage, with our kids, with the needy – do they perceive us as having Halos or Horns?

I. HORNS/ HALOS: ON THE JOB?

A. REAL WORLD SITUATION

1. In studies done of management styles, there is a phenomenon known as the “Horns & Halos Effect.”

2. This is described as when a supervisor picks certain employees to favor (they get a halo), and the others he/she disfavors (horns). How does this play out?

3. When there’s a personality conflict between a “favored” employee and a “disfavored one,” the supervisor usually defends the favored one (regardless of who’s right) and puts down the ill-favored employee.

4. The supervisor picks sides and unconsciously presses the rest of the employees to do the same.

5. Outcome? Every time "George" (disfavored) speaks, people will roll their eyes or even worse, send visual daggers. There’s nothing George can do right, because he’s already earned his horns.

6. On the flip side, there’s Sean. Sean is the "golden boy" who’s always right, even when he’s wrong. The department will make George's life miserable until he quits or shuts up.

B. REAL WORLD CHRISTIANITY

1. The problem with this is, there’s an absence of the love and acceptance that God shows equally to all people. The law of love says to ‘treat others as you’d have them treat you.’ Obviously none of us would want to be treated like that, so we shouldn’t do it either.

2. Also it’s judging people.

3. ILLUSTRATION

a. Pastor Ray Stedman told about a young man who had stopped attending his church.

b. The young man said that when he was at work he would sometimes lose his temper and treat co-workers poorly. Then, when Sunday rolled around, he didn’t want to go to church because he felt like a hypocrite.

c. Stedman told his young friend, “A hypocrite is someone who acts like something he isn’t. When you come to church, you are acting like a Christian. You are not a hypocrite at church.”

d. Suddenly, the young man realized where he was being a hypocrite. He recognized that the answer was not in avoiding church but in changing the way he was at work.

II. HORNS/ HALOS: IN THE HOME?

A. TOWARD SPOUSE

1. All married people know how easy it is to get self-centered in marriage. People often show their worst sides at home, -- their anger, criticism, jealousy, meanness, crudity, etc. -- thinking their spouse is stuck with them – “for better or for worse.”

2. But in an easy-divorce country that’s not true. If people would listen to the Bible they’d find out what attitudes create a successful marriage.

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