As Christians, we have a reputation for being against things. Sex out of marriage, drinking alcohol to excess, love of money, lying, cheating, stealing, coveting your neighbor’s property, you name it. Those outside the Christian community tend to think the things we are against are all we ever talk about.
And maybe that reputation is warranted. As Chase Miller writes in the Relevant blog, “Be Known for What You’re for, Not Just What You’re Against,” we spend a lot of time talking about what we don’t approve of.
It makes sense that mainstream media tends to cover the things Christians (especially Christian celebrities) don’t agree with because we’re not talking about what we do.
But what if we replaced some (not all) of this against talk with what we do believe in? Maybe it would change people’s perceptions of the Christian community. They might even be more willing to see what it is we’re all about.
Jesus often preached about what God was for. Why aren’t we doing the same?
God is for love. Hope. Peace. Grace. It is our responsibility as Christians to preach this message (Mark 16:15), not hide the good news behind our rules about sin.
We’re preaching our message backwards. Others don’t understand why we would bother to follow God’s rules laid out in scripture if we don’t explain God’s message of love first.
Of course, we know God’s rules about sin are important too. But as Miller writes, “I’m not suggesting we be proprietors of sloppy grace or ignore sin and allow this world to skate down a slippery slope to hell.”
Instead, we should engage in conversation about the things we are against. This is especially important for the most controversial topics in the Christian sphere.
Miller quotes Hillsong NYC pastor Carl Lentz saying, “Often people want to talk about behavior modification, and our church isn’t about that… We’re about soul transformation.”
This should be our goal as Christians. First and foremost, we want others to accept Christ’s love in their heart. “Behavior modification” and rejection of a past sinful lifestyle will naturally follow a soul’s transformation with God’s help.
In The Reckless Love of God, author Alex Early writes, “Jesus didn’t come to give good advice. He came to tell of the wrath to come and to call people to repentance, to extend the incomprehensible love of God to the world, to summon us to follow him no matter the cost, and to enter into joy unspeakable.”
It is time to start inviting others to experience God’s “joy unspeakable,” not condemn them for breaking our rules.
As Miller says, “Let’s stop leading with what Jesus is against. Let’s talk about what He’s for: having a close, personal relationship with each of us.”
Carrie Dedrick is the Family Editor for Crosswalk.com.
Publication date: November 6, 2015