Right or Wrong – Who Decides?  Part 2

2 Timothy 4: 3-4 “…the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.”

From Romans 1: “16 I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 17 For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” 18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. …21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools. …29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.”

Acts 20:30 “Even from among your own number men will arise and distort the truth.”

It should be no surprise that during these times of social upheaval, there is division among God’s people just as there is among the secular world. This is not a new thing we are seeing.

How do we as Christians witness to the world in this scenario? Maybe I can point to a few ways that will NOT bring unity. Joining in the name-calling and ridicule will only further divide. “Playing nice”, seeming to agree in public settings in front of those who are on the other side, is hypocritical and dishonest. If you truly believe that you are representing God’s Holy Scripture, then this option is showing you are ashamed of your Lord.

Looking at the full verse of I Peter 3: gives us some guidance – “15 But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.  ‘

Back in the last period of great social turmoil in this country, the 1960’s, there was an exercise we were taught at a Peacemaking workshop I attended. Everyone in the group was in a circle. The moderator made an intentionally divisive statement. The next person had to respond in the following format: I agree with what you said _____________________________, and I would add ____________________________________. No “buts” were allowed. It had to be “AND”. Maybe this would help pull today’s public discourse together to common ground.

That common ground is this (and all Christians agree on this): We are all sinners in need of mercy and grace. Our only hope for righteousness is through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Our mission is to love unconditionally and bring those that don’t know Christ, to Christ.  Christ can heal us and our nation, if we only seek Him. Our hearts should break for all those who have not heard this gospel and who have never really met the Prince of Peace, The Way, The Truth and The Life.

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