So there have been a few things in the news this week.
And, can I be honest with you? All I want to do with this blog post is tell you how I feel about all of them. Why? Because I have thoughts. And you guys don’t all share my thoughts. But I consider myself a smart, well-reasoned person and I want the opportunity to convince you all that you’re wrong and I’m right.
Which is… not sharing the gospel.
Last Sunday, our pastor was preaching out of Proverbs and talking about guarding our hearts. He told us about a time when one of his kids was clearly having a bad day and through sitting down together and talking about it they were able to get to the root of the issue — what his son was holding dear to his heart in that situation.
I’ve been thinking about this as I considered my own dilemma. Every time I opened up social media, everyone I knew was airing an opinion and I wanted nothing more to engage. But why? Why do I have this pathological need to opine on things? And after a lot of consideration, I don’t have a desire to engage thoughtfully in conversation (even though I want to thoughtfully converse, generally) so much as I’m plagued by a desire to explain my viewpoint in the hopes that it might be accepted.
This is totally natural. Everyone wants to feel accepted. And these days, when the Wrong Opinion on certain issues gets you branded as a bigot, a racist, a Nazi… you know, I feel somewhat justified in my desire to be not labeled those things. Especially by friends and church family.
This begs the question, by whom do I ultimately need to be justified?
And He will judge the world in righteousness; He will execute judgment for the peoples with equity. — Psalm 9:8
But God is the Judge; He puts down one and exalts another. — Psalm 75:7
Arise, O God, judge the earth! For it is You who possesses all the nations. — Psalm 82:8
And how am I ultimately justified before God? Certainly not by the approval numbers of my various opinions.
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. — Ephesians 2:1-10
I’m justified before God by Christ’s acceptable sacrifice on my behalf.
On Sunday our pastor also talked a bit about keeping it in our minds that our decisions have eternal, not momentary, consequences. I might give into my “cravings of the flesh” in an attempt to gain worldly approval for a time, but would that worldly approval come at the cost of my soul?
Now, definitely, there are things Christians have to stand for and against. And getting into political issues on social media isn’t an issue of salvation, per se. But what I’m saying is that why I’ve been tempted to engage on these issues is a matter of salvation. It’s a heart issue. It’s where I’m finding my treasure. And ultimately my treasure isn’t found here. So I need to leave it behind.
I’m so thankful for a God who has been working these truths out in me, proving my need of Him all the time!
THAT ALL BEING SAID…
I would like to share a video about sharing the Gospel in situations like this one. A lot has been said over the last few weeks about what the Bible has to say about immigrants and how they are treated. People who might not actually be Christians are talking about the Bible (!!), and this is such a good opportunity to turn the conversation to the Gospel. In this video, Voddie Baucham (seriously, look him up) talks about an episode of The West Wing which uses a Biblical argument to tear down the use of the Old Testament to justify opposition to same-sex marriage. Obviously the topic at hand is a little different, but the general principle remains the same. Give it a listen.