Engaging Our Neighbors About Truth

Chuck Colson

Engaging Our Neighbors About Truth

For more than two years now, I’ve been producing a weekly web video called the “Two-Minute Warning.” We post a new one every Wednesday at Colson Center.org.

In every “Two-Minute Warning,” I explain how the Christian worldview alone conforms with reality; that we cannot understand the issues facing the church, the nation and the culture, except by looking through the lens of a Christian worldview.

But just understanding the Christian worldview isn’t enough. We have to communicate it in a way others can understand. And frankly, we Christians don’t do that well enough. We often come across as angry or judgmental. Which is no way to persuade anyone in a discussion.

That’s why on today’s “Two-Minute Warning,” I teach on how to engage people about truth and how it applies to any number of issues. But we have to do it in a way that will persuade them — appealing to reason and universal human experience. We build on the truths of Scripture, of course, but in a way that is accessible to those who don’t believe in the truths of Scripture.

Why is this so important? Well, as my colleague T.M. Moore writes in his weekly ViewPoint column at the Colson Center, our culture, our civilization, many of our friends, family and neighbors, and even many within the church are in the grip of the lie.

And what is the lie? T.M. says “The lie insists that God either does not exist or is not really relevant to human happiness ... [that] every human being must decide for himself” where to find happiness. “This is the way that seems right” to so many people these days, but, as Proverbs 14:12 says, “in the end, it is the way of death.”

The most obvious manifestation of the lie afflicting modern culture is relativism — the idea that there is no absolute truth. Relativists, T.M. points out, “insist that truth is what people understand it to be, depending on their circumstances. ... A relativist cannot say definitively that this or that idea ... is true; the most he can say is that it may be true for me, for now.”

It’s not hard to see how moral relativism lies at the heart of so many of our cultural pathologies: greed, abortion, the breakdown of the family, so-called “gay marriage,” and on and on.

But “those who know the truth in Jesus Christ,” T.M. writes, “cannot simply stand by while the lie ravages churches, communities, families, and individuals.” We need to engage the culture, engage those who disagree with us. And engaging others means, first of all, listening patiently to what they have to say.

And then when we speak our turn, we must respect them as men and women made in the image of God, realizing that because they are made in God’s image, they are always “susceptible to the in-breaking of truth when it is offered in a firm, gracious, and clear manner.”

T.M. nails it when he writes that instead of engaging in “angry, nasty denunciation,” we need to respond in a careful, pointed and effective ways” that leave those entangled in the lie “with nothing left to say.”

Amen. I talk more about this on the today’s “Two-Minute Warning.” Please, go to the ColsonCenter.org and see it. And come back to the Colson Center every Wednesday, because we are going to be doing this frequently, explaining how we can make our case in a winsome way to the people around us; you’ll find great resources to help you.

Chuck Colson's daily BreakPoint commentary airs each weekday on more than one thousand outlets with an estimated listening audience of one million people. BreakPoint provides a Christian perspective on today's news and trends via radio, interactive media and print.

Publication date: December 7, 2011