The objections rained down as the rhetoric over Chris Broussard’s statements about sin reached a fevered pitch. This type of response has become common when Christians share their perspective on issues of faith and morality. To be honest, I actually agree with these statements…in part. Here’s the part I agree with:
People should be allowed to choose what they believe. God has given every human the privilege to freely choose. I am convinced God wants voluntary lovers who have willingly chosen Him as a response to conviction on their soul and recognition of His loving offer of redemption through Jesus. He’s not looking for robots, the Father wants a family, the Son longs for a Bride.
But the problem I have is often that’s not all that’s actually being said. Often, the real point is that they don’t want to hear anything that Christians have to say. Instead of saying, “You can’t force me to believe what you believe”, often what is being said is, “SHUT UP! We don’t want to hear anything you have to say.” This is often followed up with the accusation that Christians are judgmental and unloving simply because a believer openly shared his perspective.
Now hear me on this, I am not defending the Christians who ARE mean spirited, lacking in mercy and love. Those who lack mercy and love need to repent, recognize the mercy God has shown them, and begin relating to others in the same way.
At the same time, I am convinced that amidst the shifting moral climate in the world today Christians MUST speak up instead of pipe down. In fact we are called to it.
Here’s a few reasons why Christians must speak up, engage in dialogue, and declare the truth of Jesus’ ways with meekness.
1) Jesus’ Commissioned His Followers to Speak Up – It is explicit in Jesus’ teachings that Christians are called to instruct and teach others to obey everything that He taught; yes even nations, including culture and government.
Matthew 28:19-20 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
This doesn’t in anyway authorize believers to be mean spirited, but rather requires us to seek His heart that we may know His ways and represent Him rightly. Consider Paul’s admonition to Timothy:
2Ti 2:23-26 But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. 24 And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, 25 in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, 26 and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.
Gentleness and boldness is a tight rope believers must learn to walk in the grace of God. It is only learned through intimacy with Jesus’ heart. (Side Note: speaking up without an invitation or established line of relationship is what often brings the accusation of judgmentalism. Allow the Lord to lead you and speak up as He gives you opportunity.)
2) Provide a Compass for Morality – In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus called His followers to be the salt of the earth. Salt is a purifying agent. Without the compass of Kingdom values expressed in the world, the culture will quickly become a place devoid of morality. A supposed morality that is not based upon biblical precept makes allowances for incredible atrocities. Without the standards of the ten commandments as the basis for law, what is the moral standard? Popular opinion? The whims of fallen human hearts? Neither of these can provide the proper plumbline for morality, but will instead lead society headlong into debauchery.
3) Expose Darkness – Once again in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus called His followers to be light. It’s through declaring truth and living it that the world is able to see light. And when light is seen darkness is exposed. Right now there is a strong push for Christians to keep quiet. When a Christian shares his viewpoint on sin for instance, he is often met with vitriolic anger. It’s oftenan attempt to intimidate or defame him. What’s behind the silencing and vilification of Christians? John said it well, “The whole world lies under the sway of the evil one (1 John 5:19).” Also, consider Jesus’ own words, “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you…If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin.”(John 15:18, 22)
Know this, when you speak up, some will be convicted while others will be enraged, and the enemy will always try to stop you. If people were upset by Jesus when He spoke, they will certainly be upset with us when we speak His words. This is a normal part of following Him. Ready your heart and take it with grace knowing that Jesus’ himself was vilified and crucified for sharing truth.
When you’re given the opportunity, be courageous. Speak up with meekness and boldness in love. It is who we are called to be in this world, faithful witnesses testifying of Jesus.