By John McRae | Thursday, May 31, 2018 | 7:00 AM
As I scrolled through my news feed this week, I found myself asking a couple questions…why is everyone so angry…and why are so many of the angry people Christians? Now, I’m not ignorant of the issues, nor am I satisfied with the direction our culture is headed. But, I can’t help but think that Jesus would address things differently than we do. Yes, Jesus tells us to stand up for Him in front of man. No, we cannot abandon or compromise what we believe. But scripture is very clear on how we are to minister.
- 1 Peter 3:15: But in your hearts revere 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.
Peter reiterates the command that we stand ready to share the truth of who Jesus is and to hold fast to the hope He brings. But we cannot omit the last part of this verse. He tells us that we are to do these things with gentleness and respect. Ironically, Peter is the same man who cut the ear off a guard who was trying to arrest Christ (not very gentle or respectful). But by the time he wrote this, Peter had experienced the true magnitude of God’s grace and love. Being showered with that love as Christ forgave him for his denial taught Peter the benefits of lovingly sharing truth with others.
Jesus Himself gave direction on this while around the table at the Last Supper.
- John 13:34-35: A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.
Clearly this statement is true as it is stated, but I believe it’s also true in reverse. People will see how we treat and love others and know that we are Christians. Or, they will see how we spew anger, insults, hate, bitterness, criticism, etc. and assume that we are not. Treating the world with contempt for being worldly will never draw people to the Lord. We must remember that people are always watching, and so is Christ.
- Philippians 4:5: Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.
“The Lord is near…” These four words carry so much weight, yet we often neglect to walk in their truth. Knowing that the author of love is standing right there with us should inspire us to share the love of God in a loving manner. To do this, we must submit our life, attitude, will, mind, and tongue to God. We must let His Spirit lead us. We must trust Him to teach us the words to say and things to do that demonstrate His love, grace, and truth to those around us.
I’ll close by acknowledging that Christ demonstrated righteous indignation at times. But it was always with the religious leaders of His day, not the common man. It was always about those individuals abusing the people who needed to be changed by the truth of God’s love. Christ demonstrated His anger when the lost were taken advantage of.
As Christ’s church in today’s world, we must follow His model for ministry. While in the world and among its people, Jesus confronted sin. Jesus called for repentance. Jesus addressed the need for change. But, Jesus ALWAYS did these things with love, grace, truth, and mercy. We must trust that as we mirror His approach and submit to His authority, the power of the same Spirit which led Him will lead us and draw all mankind to the Father.
This Sunday we continue our Names of God series by studying the name, Jehovah Shammah. It promises to be a great time as we study how God is our companion. I look forward to seeing you all there.
In His Service,