I’ve noticed in recent conversations that there’s a great divide between the way people approach topics of interest that require taking any stance. There are quite a few layers of lifestyles and products we promote as a society that burn up any Biblical, and in my opinion, even ethical morals and standards.
I for one look at big ticket items like drugs, alcohol, pornography, violence (gangs, terrorism, or in things like gaming and movies), LGBTQ agendas, pedophilia, BLM and other movements’ attacks on the nuclear family, rioting, and looting… The list goes on and on, and I tend to think, I wish the world was less “worldly.”
It seems as if people are accepting all of these types of behaviors and agendas with more and more free license, and with less and less push back. There’s much more silence and fear as it would pertain to voicing any opinion as of late. People are afraid to shame one another, make anyone else feel guilty, or hold each other accountable at any level that would cause their neighbor a discomfort.
However, on the other hand, I’ve also rubbed up against this very unexpected reality that many people, who may oppose these types of things internally, no longer want to say anything because they believe it’s harmful/hateful speech toward the people behind the negative acts and behaviors. Again, they are endorsing this idea that holding anyone accountable to their behaviors is unloving, shameful, and disrespectful. We just need to leave them be, this line of thinking goes, and let them live their lives because, “They’re not hurting anyone. So why do you care? Just leave them alone.”
Here’s another side of the coin. As it would relate to the Church, if someone raises their voice against one of these behaviors, people from the Church are coming out of the woodwork with this idea that we need to just keep to ourselves, be quiet and silent, love and comfort, and pray. As if to say, “Jesus would never make someone feel bad about themselves or question their behavior. He would only listen, dine, and commune with them, showing love and comfort.” As if to welcome and ignore their “sin” until they feel ready to face themselves. It promotes a very soft, touchy/feely envisioning of Jesus. Essentially imagining Him as a community-driven millennial. This posture that Jesus was only love and peace, comfort and community… It’s this mentality that makes me think, I wish the church would be less “churchly.”
Just because our Christian belief system embraces the Biblical prophecy that the world will get worse from a moral perspective, this shouldn’t discourage us from still rising against the issues. It seems as though some Christians have adopted the mentality that the world is going to do what the world is going to do, and it’s not our place to try to change that. Jesus would only love and accept, and we know things are supposed to get worse, so just let it happen. Don’t complain, don’t act surprised. Just go with it, and try to love people along the way in hopes they will turn to God in the midst.
I personally see this as a very complacent form of Christianity. It looks very much like the Lamb (as Jesus would absolutely love and accept people regardless of their sin), but it completely excludes the Lion (as Jesus absolutely did not go along with and endorse every whim of society). I think we need to take a long, hard look at this dynamic we’re creating. When did Jesus ever say nothing about a person’s sin? He always loved the person, with the full weight of forgiveness, while also challenging and inviting him or her to live differently.
I personally believe we are called to have voices of influence at our city gates. Just because we know things are going to get worse is no reason not to make an impact on our present realities. Speaking out against poor ethical behaviors is not hate; it’s right and righteous accountability. It’s not judgement. No more than a police officer pulling someone over for speeding. Is that judgmental? No, it’s proper enforcement of legal expectations.
Church, if we truly believe that Jesus is the only way to eternal life, and He asks for our hearts, backed by our submission and obedience, reflected by our behaviors, then why are we afraid to say it? Do we just not want to make people feel bad about their lifestyle choices? Heaven forbid anyone ever feel guilty or ashamed by what they do.
I can guarantee that people felt ashamed when Jesus came into their presence. It’s not wrong for someone to feel that shame. In fact, it’s an indicator that there’s acknowledgement and revelation happening in their hearts. Just as physical pain is an indicator that we’ve injured our body. The key is that Jesus would never leave people there in their shame, nor condemn their souls, without the opportunity for them to accept His love and redemption.
I hate to say it, but I think another reality we are afraid of is that people would ever choose to hate God. Also, that God would ever choose to hate their behaviors, or condemn them in their sin. This may be a really hard pill to swallow, but choosing a sinful lifestyle because it makes us “feel better about ourselves” will ultimately separate us from God.
What we need to stop being afraid of, Church, is the reality that if we speak boldly about the Kingdom, it may cause others to curse God. We’ve come to a point where we are terrified of the reality that we may turn someone off to Christianity, or life and relationship with God, if we challenge their narratives and definitions of freedom, free will, ethics, or behaviors.
Our silence either affirms our indirect endorsement of poor behaviors (when you stand for nothing, you stand for all things), or it shows that we are actually ashamed of the God we profess to believe in, because His commandments cause others to feel discomfort and shame. On either side of the fence, there is shame.
We must stop fearing shame. It is, by definition, “the painful feeling arising from the consciousness of something dishonorable, improper, ridiculous, etc., done by oneself or another.”
Shame actually is a feeling we should be embracing since it promotes reflection and change.
All this to say, I do wish the world were different, and that everyone would choose to love God and live by Biblical ethics, but they won’t. In fact, many have and will choose to reject Him. Many are incredibly hurt by the Church, and that creates a barrier in their reflection of Who God is.
The Church, on the other hand, is so sensitive to the offenses that were created by poor examples of Christ, that we’re now swinging the pendulum in the opposite direction. We now actually reject the chance that we might create any offense by demonstrating (or displaying) the pure nature and example of Christ (which is very offensive to those who want to embrace the world).
Church, we can fully love and embrace those who are hurting, lost, confused, and broken, while still having an impact and a voice of influence by stating opposition to “worldly” ways, and by sharing what we believe. Don’t hate, but don’t choose silence. Love and silence are not one and the same. Neither are opposition and hatred.