Taking a stand is a poor substitute for loving our neighbors

“Nothing signals conviction and passion in this age more than the art of being theatrically offended. And it would be easy to see the vehemence of our outrage as evidence that we are “engaging the culture,” when we would be doing nothing of the sort. If outrage were a sign of godliness, then the devil would be the godliest soul in the cosmos.”-Russell Moore

We are living in a time when it seems that everyone is taking a stand.

A stand against killing gorillas.

A stand against parents who let their kids fall into a pit with a gorilla.

A stand against radical Islam.

A stand against Democrats.

A stand against Republicans.

A stand against the LGBT community.

A stand against coffee cups that don’t say what we want them to say.

Man, we love taking a stand!

One of the questions this has raised in my mind is why are Christians so good at taking a stand yet we are not so good when it comes to building relationships and getting to know people in everyday life?

I think one of the reasons we are inclined to take a stand and not actually get to know the people right next door is for one simple reason; it’s easier. (Perhaps the most fundamental reason is that we have simply forgotten the gospel).

Posting something on social media is easy. Conversations about how godly America use to be is easy. Talking or typing and not genuinely listening is easy. Outrage is easy (and it makes us feel good). Pretending we are doing something good for the world by complaining is easy.

Yet I think our wealth of resources and opportunities lends itself to this theory that we may be part of the most overrated generation in human history—because we have access to so much data, info, resources, modes of communication … but we end up doing so little. We tweet, blog, talk, preach, retweet, share, like, and click incessantly. While I’m not implying that the aforementioned things aren’t actions, what do those actions actually cost us? How are we sacrificing? In fact, recent research even indicates that people who demonstrate support for causes and organizations on social media, such as Facebook, actually do less in real life. They are less likely to donate their money or volunteer their time. -Eugene Cho

Imagine. What if we did more than taking a stand regarding the social issues of our day? What if we took the second greatest commandment in all of Scripture seriously, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself”? What kind of impact would the church begin making? How would we change the perception the world has of us? How might hearts be opened up to the gospel if we opened up our house for meals and relationships with the people who live all around us?

backyard dinner
Photo taken from greenweddingshoesdotcom

Known Deeply. Loved Deeply.

Following excerpt is taken from “Tempted and Tried” by Russell Moore.

Felix told me that he battled against the pull to do stuff, awful stuff. When I pressed Felix about the gospel, he seemed to evidence credible faith and repentance. But he wanted me to know just how dark his demons were inside. “If you could prove to me that Jesus’ bones were in the ground in the Middle East,” he said, “I’d leave here right now and get as drunk as I could get, take every drug I could find, and sleep with every woman who would let me.” I think he was a little surprised when I chimed back, “Me too.”

I told Felix that if the bones of Jesus were in the ground, it seems to me his response is exactly what we ought to do: “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die” (1 Cor 15:32). The question rather than that is this: “Do you, in fact, believe the bones of Jesus are in the ground?” Felix’s eyes welled up with tears that he manfully blinked away. “No, I believe he’s alive,” he said. “And that’s why I fight this stuff all the time.” Let me give you a formal theological term for what Felix is experiencing: the normal Christian life.

This quote from Russell Moore leads me to a few conclusions…

  • Normal Christianity is not feeling as if you have reached such a level of sanctification that you no longer wrestle with your sin nature. In order for that to be the case there is one prerequisite, death.
  • After 15 years of pastoral ministry one thing I know for an absolute certainty is that each and every one of us is broken. We all have our closets. And perhaps our deepest longing is to be known for who we truly are and loved all the same.
  • Leaders cultivate shallow Christian community when they act like they have it all together. Which means that the church does not feel like a safe enough environment to let others see who we truly are.
  • Don’t believe the lie that you are the only one who has a monster inside of them that is being kept under control by a very thin leash. Everyone is fighting some kind of battle whether you can see it or not. You are not alone.

Pic taken from therealiferealtalkdotcom