Christians are “insensitive to others” – according to 70% of non-Christians between the ages of 16 and 29.
But contrary to the majority opinion, moral character doesn’t have to be incompatible with grace, mercy and love.
Imagine how much trouble we’d be in if God in His moral perfection refused to accept us because of our moral weaknesses and outright rebellion!
It’s time for American Christians to show our culture and the world that we are people of both character and grace.
How? By showing what we are for … not just what we’re against.
Here are 7 ways we can do this:
- Talk about what we are for:
- Helping the poor
- Ministering to the hurting
- Improving educational opportunities
- Increasing job opportunities
- Stimulating economic growth
- Demonstrate that we can disagree without demeaning.
The key is to demonstrate the love of Christ in all of our discussions and debates.
“Let love be without hypocrisy…” (Romans 12:9)
“The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil…” (2 Timothy 2:24-26)
- Show that we can be biblical without being bombastic.
This means standing uncompromisingly for biblical truth while recognizing that we fall tremendously short in applying that truth and living it out in our daily lives.
“…clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (1 Peter 5:5)
“Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned as it were with salt, so that you may know how you should respond to each person.” (Colossians 4:6)
- We can care for people without endorsing behavior that hurts them and others.
There is a difference between love and acceptance…
Saying “I love you” is not the same as saying, “I accept and support everything you do.”
“Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love…” (Ephesians 4:1-2)
“But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you… for if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? (Matthew 5:44, 46)
- We must stand for absolute truth in a world of relativity.
“As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ…” (Ephesians 4:14-15)
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Do not be carried away by varied and strange teachings…” (Hebrews 13:8-9a)
- We are called to speak unchanging truth in a changing culture and world.
“Therefore, laying aside all falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor…Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. And be kind to another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:25, 31-32)
- God wants to redeem our cultural darkness with a clear and compelling display of the abundant life only Christ can provide.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35)
“For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’…. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:13-14, 22-23)
“The Lord is not slow about His promise…but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish, but for all to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)
Like the prodigal son who left home in anger and wandered deeply into sin, we have also wandered greatly – each of us into our own form of rebellion.
But just as the prodigal was enthusiastically welcomed home by his father, God eagerly welcomes all who come back to His truth and love.
We should be anxious to do the same to those who have rejected us and opposed us.
Note: Scripture verses quoted in this article are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB).
What do you think? Write me at [email protected]