Monday, November 30, 2015

Our Greatest Challenge

This was written 11-27-1996 (19 years ago!) before the internet blog was common, for a church newsletter.  It does (to me) seem dated, yet it still has some valid points.  I would probably write it quite differently today, but to keep it in it's setting, time, place, and writers style, I will not change it, but I may add comments in red.

It seems apparent that something has gone wrong. Why do people feel nothing when they see others violently die in a television news show? How is it that we can have horrible vengeful thoughts against the one who cuts us off in heavy traffic? To what extent will perversion of the law need to go? Why does the world seem to be in a great moral and Spiritual spiral downward heading who knows where? I have for a long time known that the answer is to be found within the Bible, but it is truly difficult to find the answer until we can really understand the problem which underlies the crash our society is experiencing.

When we as Christians feel at a loss to explain these things among ourselves, it can be difficult to explain them to others. In our effort to explain them to others we can easily bypass the most important foundations for the answers to these questions people are looking for.

We say there is sin in the world. We say the world is full of sinners. Granted. ...but we also say the world is not our home. We cry out in anger that if only we could get a Christian in office (you fill in the political place) we would not see such horrible societal shames. We say that the problems of the world are due to the lack of Christian involvement.

What is not always apparent to us as Christians is these answers are actually hurting the situation. Not only are they insincere, they are filled with all kinds of other messages. Such as the world is not our home so I don’t care. Or, if we could get a Christian in office then things would be better since Christians don’t sin. Or worse yet, if we could get a Christian in office we could get rid of (you fill in the blank) and establish credibility in America. It is as if to say all non-Christians are beasts! Of course, I am not advocating any form of perfectionism here, just positing the ideas which some seem to implicitly embrace.

One of the strongest examples of this poor attitude is in some recent T.V. commercials. The goal of it is to persuade those people on the side of a womans choice that abortion is wrong. What happens during these ads I do not know. One scene of each of these ads shows a poor aborted baby. This is a shame to Christians everywhere!

Christians, who purport to value life, and the dignity of life, and who use this value as a tenant of their belief against abortion, have abandoned this tenant when they show ads such as these. Any ordinary person who has died is given a proper respectful place of display in a casket, open or closed, prior to burial. If the deceased one had died in a horrible disfiguring accident the casket would be closed. This is due to the value all people place on human life. How can we justify our attitude with ads such as these? This is both convicting to me, but I also see the validity to the display now.  We only need to look at Emmet Till to find a modern parallel. I think I have changed my position on the matter - but I am not certain - for the points I raised are still valid.  The issue is not that human dignity is not sacred, but that the crimes ought not be 'swept under the rug' for decency sake.  As long as there is a reverence for the life taken, since this one not only deserves dignity, but also justice, showing the crime, by presenting the results, may be reasonable.

There is the response that we have up to this time given to the world when they ask rightly, "Why is the world in such a mess as it is?". As a Christian I have been grieved by the answers given by such groups as "The Christian Coalition", or "The COalition of Politically Active Christians (COPAC)". It seems as though something dreadful has happened. Have we actually bought into the idea that society can be changed by changing the laws? It seems so, since these organizations would cease to exist without some form of donation. What about the Biblical truth that renewal comes from a change in the heart!? (see II Corinthians 5:17-18 & Romans 12:1-2). Haven’t we turned the equation around. If we think that the heart will change if the laws are different we are kidding ourselves. Changing the laws in Washington will not affect those who desire to have an abortion! I do not believe that we as Christians are showing true humility in the answers we have been giving. Have we forgotten God’s sovereignty? Do we no longer believe God is really in control?  Now, while I agree with all of this, I do not mean to say that we should not be seeking to end abortion legally - but that the reasons we are doing so, are frequently to invalidate the gospel!

We are not to judge non-Christians. God has already condemned them for their sin as he did you and I. We ought to pray for them, care for them, love them, so that they are no longer our enemies. Moreover we should witness to them of our God and Savior Jesus the Messiah who is in control (if we really believe that...) and Who desires them to accept the sacrifice He paid for the payment of their sins by dying on the cross.

When we stoop to such a level as we have been, we trade jab for jab with our opponents in a boxing match we will loose. If we who are Christians jump down to their level, we deny the sovereignty of God by saying "God is not doing anything (or enough), so I guess I’ll have to go to work to help Him!", and "God’s obviously impotent, so I’ll have to pitch-hit for Him!"

How can this be!? Our battle should be placed before the Lord. Who are we, as puny people, to dare speak to God this way. Our actions have been screaming this and more.

In Corinth, Paul had a situation where a Christian brother was having an affair with his stepmother and boasting about it. Even the gentiles were in shame over such a sin. Is it any wonder our evangelistic efforts are ineffective? May we seek to do good in a right way and not just so the end is justified - lest our efforts to do good be invalidated.   

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