This post is for my fellow Christian believers, but anyone is welcome to read and respond…
I wrote in a recent post that I’m tired of conflict, especially of all the public arguing, yelling, protesting and general hatefulness spewed by both sides on so many divisive issues. I also posted yesterday about the fact that Christians can’t and shouldn’t keep their faith to themselves if we are to be obedient to the teachings of the One who is the center of our faith – Jesus. Today’s post extends the thinking behind those two previous posts in order to challenge my fellow Christians (and me in my more cantankerous moments) to spend more time discussing what we are for than what we are against.
My fear is that too many who do not share our faith, after seeing and hearing us in public, walk away only knowing about those practices with which we disagree. They may have an idea of the things we hate, but not that which (or the One whom) we love. They may never hear the full central message of what we do believe and why we believe it. We may spend so much time on social issues (which we have every right to be concerned about and involved with) that we fail to deliver the central message of the faith regarding who Jesus is, why He came to earth, what He did on our behalf, and why it matters eternally to each and every person on the planet.
It seems that many of us are out of balance, fellow Christians – allowing ourselves to get sucked into public debate that, to be honest, is not going to end this side of heaven. In the process of chasing those genuinely important issues, we risk failing at our most important mission of making much of Jesus in word and example. That’s a shame and, most likely, a sin. We can and we must do better.
Please think twice about devoting too much time, energy and resources in causes against things. I’m not suggesting you change any beliefs or heartfelt convictions. I not telling anyone to not be involved at all in such causes. What the Scriptures teach must still be authoritative in all matters of faith and practice. Each person must live according to what the Scriptures teach, how God has gifted him/her, and according to one’s sense of calling.
I can’t help but think, though, that our witness to the world and our own state of spiritual health will improve if we intentionally shift more of our conversations to what we are for as opposed to what we are against. In fact, if hearts and lives are changed because people respond in repentance and faith to the gospel, we may just find that the other issues that tend to consume us become less of an issue.
If you want a focus for your time, energy and message, make it Jesus.