Dearest Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I feel a need to say something to you. As I consider what I should say, I think a public letter is best. This needs to be as out in the open as is what prompts my thoughts. I am not glad to say any of this, but I think we (self-included) need to hear it.
Christians, we owe the world and Christ an apology. Many of us are communicating in a way that is abrasive. In our efforts to defend the Truth, to defend our beliefs, to defend our rights, and to promote godly morality we are appearing mean-spirited. Brethren, this “ought not to be so.” We need to recall who we were. The same context that says the sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, effeminate, homosexuals, thieves, greedy, drunkards, revilers, and swindlers will not inherit the kingdom of God also says, “And such were some of you;” before you came to Christ. (1Co 6:9-11). We need to remember Paul’s quotations from the Psalms and Isaiah, “There is none righteous, no not one . . . all have turned aside . . . there is no fear of God before their eyes” (Rom 3:10-18) includes us in the words “none” and “all.”
Again, Paul would say we are to, “Devote (ourselves) to prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving; praying at the same time for (Paul and company) as well, . . . so that (they could make the mystery of Christ manifest with the right words). Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, redeeming the time. Let your words always be with grace, seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should answer each person.” (Col 4:2-6 – LSB; parenthesis mine – BSMc). Instead of being accusative, I need to devote myself to passionate, grateful, and selfless prayer. I need to be cautious with my spoken and written words. I need to be discerning toward those of the world and make good use of the time I have with them. My words should be gracious and palatable (seasoned with salt) not abrasive and salty, as I carefully consider how to stand with Christ and share His grace.
The accuser of mankind, the great deceiver, Satan longs to cause division among men. He would have us divide us by nation, ethnicity, race, socio-economic status, political ideologies, and many other ways. From the very beginning he worked to divide man and God. In the pages of scripture, we see him dividing families and churches. Division, and the animosity that follows, is the design of Satan and the antithesis of God. Brothers and sisters, let us not be the arms, hands, and mouthpieces of the accuser. Let us instead pursue what makes for peace. Let us make effort to live peaceful lives and to live – as much as depends on us – at peace will all mankind.
Should we stand for Truth? Absolutely!
Should we stand for righteous living? By all means, yes!
Should we defend the innocent and the hurting. Again, yes!
But we should do so as representatives of the Christ.
Remember why He came, “For God so loved the World, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge (condemn) the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” (John 3:16-17 – LSB; parenthesis mine – BSMc).
He came in love to bring about faith in Him. He came not to condemn but to save. Our goal is His goal. We are called out, not to judge, but to lovingly point the world to the Savior who rescues.
Jesus, the Christ, might say of our mission, “The foremost, ‘Hear O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God will all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with strength.’ “The second is this. ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Oh wait! He did say that! (Mark 12:29-31).
We may be keeping the foremost command, but:
- Are we truly loving our neighbor when we are laughing at their hurt, their disappointment, and their defeat?
- Are we truly being loving if we are known more for what se stand against than for our compassion and care?
- Do we reflect the donkey, or the elephant more than we do the LAMB?
Brethren, my life is not about me. Your life is not about you. Life is all about Christ, who is our life, and Him crucified and resurrected for all mankind.
In Christ Alone, your brother,