Cara Joyner from RELEVANT Magazine has written an article that all Christians in today’s culture should read. She gives us a startling reminder,“We aren’t called to demand that secular culture reflect biblical principles.
Church the world is watching us. They see the articles we float around the Internet, they read our billboards and bumper stickers, and for many outside of the Body, they feel one thing with crushing weight: judgment. There is no invitation in condemnation and no love in passive-aggressive battles fought along the lines of a newsfeed.
For Christians, it can be tempting to want or even try to police our culture’s morality. We want our culture to look a certain way, and we may have good intentions…but it usually comes across all wrong.
“Of course, as Christians, we do desire to see the culture reflect values and beliefs that represent the kingdom and honor Christ. However, when we speak this way we are speaking in terms that reflect an inadequate understanding of culture‚ what it is and how it is formed. Furthermore, such declarations assume that culture is a rather simple state of affairs—the mere rearrangement of which will yield a different culture. The fact is, culture is a far more complex phenomenon‚ especially our culture today with its extraordinary contest and synthesis of ideas, values, and worldviews.”
When we speak about issues of the day, are we speaking truth in love accompanied by grace? God wants us to speak to our culture in truth AND grace.
Joyner quotes Mahatma Gahndi to express how our culture tends to feel about Christians,
“I like your Christ, but I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”
If we want to learn how to best share God’s message with our culture, all we have to do is read His Word. How did Jesus reach His culture? He walked through the cities in the midst of the people; He ate with them at their tables, He went to their homes, and He loved them…just as they were. His love and grace didn’t change the truth He spoke. Rather, because of His love and grace, people listened to His truth.
So what are some practical ways we can look more like Jesus to our culture?
Share Meals and Intimate Conversations with the Non-Religious like Jesus
When was the last time you invited a non-Christian co-worker, neighbor, or family from your children’s school over for a meal and fellowship?
Joyner points out,
“…if we find that there is no one around our table who disagrees with us, well, we’ve found the larger problem and we must confess that our lives look much less like Jesus’ than we may imagine.”
Let Your Love and Compassion for People Precede Their Repentance like Jesus
Jesus loved and protected first, despite any outward change shown by the person. This means that the person must become more important than our opinions and our political standings.
“Our expectations of politics are often way too high, far beyond their real power. For one, politics has never been the means of actually changing the culture and, two, it is certainly not the means by which the Christian church—the most powerful social and cultural transforming force in history—has or should fulfill its mission and purpose.”
Don’t Hide from the Culture, Keep Moving like Jesus
Jesus met people where they were, and He invited them into a real relationship and offered them a role in His story. Jesus kept moving, Joyner reminds us.
“His goal was healing and restoring the broken, not circling around those who were already following.”
She goes on to state,
“…as a whole, Christians are not known for showing Jesus to the world.”
“What if Christianity was truly known for radical love and passionate pursuit of justice?” What if we remembered Paul’s words, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners — of whom I am the worst.”
You can read Joyner’s full article here at RELEVANT.com.
Will you join me in striving to engage our culture with truth through radical grace and love?
Liz Kanoy is an Editor at Crosswalk.com
Publication date: July 16, 2015