Thursday, March 3, 2016

Earning a voice without losing your voice

Where would we be without the right person, at the right time, saying the right thing about a certain wrong behavior.  We can point to William Wilberforce and the slave trade in England or Martin Luther King Jr. and the treatment of African Americans or even Mother Teresa and the treatment of social outcasts.  They, among many others, choose to address and judge culturally acceptable behavior as wrong. 

I will argue that what gave them that voice, is a combination of two things:  Their willingness to EARN that voice through their actions and their foundation being from something much greater than themselves.

Their actions not only prove how deep they believed in their cause, but their actions also go on to prove how ridiculous the cultural norm was that they were fighting against. 

What gave them even more of a voice and what, ultimately, led to great societal change, was the fact that their judgments were based on a higher authority, voiced in the Bible by God Himself.  It’s clear that they were fueled by a higher calling because in each of these cases, they continued doing what they did until they died, without ever seeing much (if any) cultural change.

What is that cultural change that needs to happen today?  We need an accurate, thoughtful, respectful view of homosexuality.  The church, then, needs to be on the forefront of promoting both truth regarding what the Bible says about homosexuality as well as unconditional love and compassion to all people . . . ALL people, because they ALL deserve it.

Yes, I agree, the church has lost its voice because we have NOT faithfully done either of the two aforementioned necessities.  We have not accurately portrayed the truth of Scripture nor have we accurately modeled Christ-like love.
I started this blog in early 2014 and have yet to post it after tweaking it here in May, 2015.  As I continue to revisit this topic and observe how society is handling it, my original premise, which is based on Scripture being the authority, will hold true:  The current societal norm regarding homosexuality will eventually be found out for what it is, a submission to what feels right through the path of least resistance as opposed to a submission to what's right.

Well, now in March, 2016, our country has neither submitted to God's authority nor is even interested in His authority.  We are embracing Presidential candidates who see no need for a personally involved God in any way.  As a church, and as a church leader, we need to wholeheartedly embrace the principles on which the first church was founded:  Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name than Jesus, given to man, by which we must be saved (see Acts 4:12).  If you're not a follower of Jesus, I should do all I can to show you Jesus, NOT tell you how far off you are from what I believe or expect you to honor the Word of God.  If you are a follower of Jesus, I should discover, with you, what God's Word says about everything, NOT try to make the Bible say what I think it should say or allow cultural norms to determine correct biblical interpretation.

May we earn our voice the way Jesus did.  As He was approached by a self-righteous rich man who declared his own righteousness, Jesus knew how far he was from the Kingdom.  Yet, Scripture says in Mark 10:21, "Jesus, looking at him, loved him . . . "  There is a compassion and love for those who are "far off" that is missing from the Evangelical community.  By the grace of God, may we capture that and boldly live it out.  At that point, our voice will be heard more and the counter-cultural, life-giving message of Scripture will be heeded. . . only by God's grace.

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