Relationships are the Answer
If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably gotten caught up in the squalor of moral outrage that is commonly being voiced by Christians today. We can get so outraged by the dissolving of values that once were the norm in American society. We bemoan that these aren’t “the good old days” anymore. We shake our heads and utter things about the world going to hell in a handbasket and so forth.
But does this moral outrage really do any good? Why do we allow ourselves to spout out our disapproval of the current generation’s continuance of the trend of marginalizing Christian values? Is it because we truly are heart-broken on God’s behalf, and, like the prophet Jeremiah in the Scriptures, we weep for our nation and want so badly for all hearts to turn back to God?
Or is sometimes something more selfish or self-righteous? Is it more comfortable and convenient to sit on self-made thrones of piety and assume God’s role of judge?
The answer to those questions is worth some deep introspection for all of us. I for one have certainly acted out great moral disappointment by things I see going on in my lifetime. Of course, it’s in those times that I forget that I, too, am a sinner who is so direly in need of a Savior. When I’m humbled enough by my reflection in the mirror of God’s law, I recall in remorse that, at my human core, I’m just as rotten as anyone else who simply sins differently than I.
The same grace that covered my sin can cover anyone else’s as well.
Beyond that truth, though, there’s a question to revisit: What good do we do with all the loud, clamoring moral outrage Christians engage in?
The point behind that questions is this: Something CAN be done. But it’s not what we think it is. What if we stopped following a lie that God needs us to wail about and tattle on other sinners? What if we instead saw them as a mission field? We have a mission to help change this culture by leading souls to Jesus, so they can first discover a Savior they too can call their own, and then also to come to understand all the applications of his Truth in our lives. We may yearn for switch we could flip that would cause everyone to agree that abortions end lives and we must seek other solutions, and make healthier choices in our lives. But it doesn’t work that way. Minds only conceive of what God illuminates for them, after the heart is changed.
We want our nation to become a nation who values human life as deeply as God does, don’t we? Yes, we sorely do.
Then we must understand one very important thing: Right now, the world sees no meaningful appeal in a life of following Christ. Read the quote by evangelist Brennan Manning once more. Doesn’t it ring true in your own conscience? It does for me! By God’s grace, we are forgiven for every ugly violation of His will that we have performed before the eyes of our mission field. Yet it’s a sobering reality to keep in mind. What is the ramification? Neither we, nor our pro-life values (and others) are taken seriously!
Think of it this way. Does the gym owner who eats fast food day and night, and never works out himself, have any credibility with those seeking gym membership? No! He’s not a bad person – he just invalidates the message he’s advertising. The same goes for us if we claim to follow Jesus, yet we don’t live like we’re transformed. Matthew 5:16 encourages “…Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
If we feel as though nobody shares our values in society anymore, what if part of the reason is that our lights aren’t shining brightly enough? Are our very lives persuasive evidence that following Jesus is worth doing?
Nobody likes to hear the life-changing message of God’s love for fallen mankind compared to a sales pitch. But the same principle applies, that if we are going to claim that it’s the greatest way to live, and the only way to die, then shouldn’t our everyday lives reinforce that? If someone accused you of being a Christian, would there be enough evidence in your life to be convicted?
A great way to turn this all around begins with work on our relationships.
Stay tuned for our upcoming post “The Two Relationships."
Author: Jeff Ulrich
Jeff is a husband, father, and graduate school student. He attends Hope Lutheran in Oconomowoc. Jeff’s background in ministry education and future in the counseling field reflect a heart that loves to serve others and make a difference. He shares his personal or spiritual reflections in his own time at www.missionpossiblejeffulrich.blogspot.com
Pregnancy declares war on your body. Babies bring sleepless nights. Toddlers ruin shopping trips. School-age kids whine; teens declare war on you.
Honestly, why does anyone want a child?
It's true that pregnancy brings its share of issues; from nausea and vomiting, to weight gain, cramping, and discomfort. But it's also true that there is nothing quite like the feeling of seeing your child on that ultrasound. Our first child was obstinate. She wouldn't let the sonographer get the pictures he needed. Our second was sucking his thumb. Our third child waved and the fourth smiled. It was so cute we added it to our Christmas cards that year.
When the baby hiccups, moves or kicks you are intimately involved. In fact, when the baby is born it knows the mother's voice and smell. He or she knows you.
There's nothing quite like the unconditional love of a baby. Yes, their tiny stomachs need food every few hours, but when they see you for the first time, cuddle into you, and move their little mouth, you melt in a way you never have before.
And when they fall down after their first wobbly steps and scrape their knee, they look to you.
And yes, toddlers press the limits, but they also open your eyes to the beauty of everyday things you take for granted. They notice the flowers and the clouds and the sparkle in the grains of sand. They jump and dance in the rain you see as inconvenient and marvel at the glimmers in fresh snow.
When they start school your heart breaks just a little. Oh, you are happy they are there to learn, but you are entrusting your child to someone else. There will be the tears of anger and grief when another child hurts your child, but tears of joy as they come home and read their first sentence to you.
And there will be the teen years that your child suddenly thinks the world should dance to their beat, but there will also be the times you sing and dance and laugh together.
And the day comes, (though it seemed for years that it would never come) when all the time and love and work you invested becomes more than you could have imagined. And your child, though still your child, is now your friend.
Motherhood is so much more than morning sickness and labor and sleepless nights. It is so much more than whining and crying and rebellion.
It is a new way to experience love, incomparable to anything you've ever experience, and incomprehensible.
The only thing that comes close is the love God has for us. Despite our weaknesses and failures, He's still happy to call us His. Despite our temper tantrums and rebellion, He's still there.
If motherhood has come to you, you are blessed indeed. Every season brings blessings and curses, but your momma heart will never be the same. And it's a good thing.
Author: Amber Swenson
Amber has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and Literature. She has authored four books; two of them (Bible Moms and The Whisper Theory) are in print and two (The Bread of Angels and Ladies of Legacy) are in various stages of publication. Both her Bible studies and her novels are written in an effort to bring single, married, young and older women to a closer relationship with their Savior Jesus Christ. She also authors a weekly blog found on facebook under "Bible Moms" or at "biblemoms.wordpress.com".
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