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
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