If anyone should understand that the world is broken, it is the Christian.

Posted on June 1, 2020.

 Christians should all have a concept that sin and evil and injustice are very real and in the world.
    When looking at the cause of the recent protests (for some at least), it started with the spark of upset about a genuine injustice. A legitimate outrage at what some of us would call "sin". This shows an interesting cultural vestige of Christian compassion and values. Compassionate Christians changed the world with the advent of hospitals, universities and organized care for the needy. Work done as Christians showed their love of Christ by helping fill the needs of others. But after that culturally-given Christian spark, the non-Christian minds typically seem to transmogrify that compassion into something that would be called "preachy" or "self-righteous". This is very often accompanied by angry responses to opposition or mere questions, a behavior which usually indicates an inability to explain one's motives or reasons or a contempt for the questioner.
    Why? Because the non-Christian's outrage about injustice lacks the inward-looking dimension that Christianity requires. The Christian's first step of faith is to recognize his or her own sin (unjust-ness?) and need to make their own wrongs right. They realize that most of their own wrongs cannot be made right by anything they do or think or apply therapy to. Something much more powerful needs to do it. The non-Christian looks toward changing some worldly system, probably because they deny the reality of their own spiritual aspect. This whole denial of the spiritual elevates the physical world's importance which in turn elevates whatever they see as the physically most powerful to God-like (or god-like) status. Usually this is government or whatever they esteem as being most significant.
    The Christian is to deal with others--even those we vehemently disagree with-- in a humility based on astonishment that the real God loves me, has forgiven me because of my faith in Jesus--and I that really want to be more like HIM! This creates a tolerance that is genuine, not just nice-sounding words until I meet someone who doesn't deserve my tolerance. (Naturally this does not mean the Christian is a weak patsy for bullies, but that's for another time.) The Christian is obliged to look at opponents and treat them with a dignity and value because we see them as made in the image of God, i.e. made with value. Loathsome, ungodly, violent behavior--destructive of self, others or the world as a whole must still carry consequences. But our attitude should not revel in their consequences no matter how much we know they deserved them. As Paul wrote: “Don’t pay back a bad turn by a bad turn. … As far as your responsibility goes, live at peace with everyone. Never take vengeance into your own hands, my dear friends: stand back and let God punish if he will." (Romans 12)                                 The Christian mind should not really be surprised at the world's imperfection or even its outright evils. This is a fallen world loaded with people who need salvation and try to find it by turning to forcing others to accept their sin or creating their idea of Utopia (which means "no place") on earth, which usually means creating some sort of hell here on earth for people they don't like. After all, those people don't deserve tolerance, respect or even basic freedoms--so the argument historically goes. The world will be like this until Christ returns and no action of ours will make people pure, kind, polite or even good drivers. Ae we to sit idly by, counting the days until we get to go to Heaven? What a waste of time and opportunities. We get to be the hands and mouths of Christ. The desire to make a Utopia here misunderstands the realities of the world and especially of God's purpose for this world and our presence in it. First, it usually presumes that this world is all there is. Among other things, we get to help make disciples, so that as many as may have faith in Jesus will indeed get to know the eternal joys of Heaven in the presence of God. Good work. An honor to be a part of such work.
    In 1967 after serious riots in the U.S., Billy Graham said: "If the church wants high, moral standards in the nation and a new social justice, then let the church get back to preaching the simple, authoritative Gospel of Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit. It was this Gospel that brought about many of the great social reforms of the past. The preaching of the cross and the resurrection have been primarily responsible for promoting humanitarian sentiment and social concern during the last 400 years. Prison reform, the prohibition of the slave trade, the abolition of slavery, improvement in working conditions, the protection of children, the crusade against cruelty to animals are the outcomes of great religious awakenings brought about by the proclamation of the Gospel." Wise words.
    So should Christians speak up when we see things that are unfair or people acting in a way not honoring God? Of course, but we should remember that our primary goal is the fundamental transformation of the spiritual lives of people we encounter by speaking and living the Gospel.                                                   Pastor Geoff              “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."                                                                              2 Chronicles 7:14