On this National Day of Prayer, I am concerned. I am concerned about the way we believers engage our culture.
The violence in our schools, the bombings in our cities, the disregard for the sanctity of life, the immorality rampant in the media, and the re-definition of marriage are all causes of great concern.
So, what should we do as believers? How now shall we live?
I've noticed that believers seem to swing between one of two extremes. We're passive; some of us choose not to do anything. Or we're abusive; some of us blast out at those who we perceive are the problem. Both extremes kill the Missional Living impulse.
God's word asks us to live a third way. We must connect before we correct. As one of my married friends, Nate Green, says, "You can be right, but still sleep on the couch!"
Paul, the great culture-restorer, gives some clear instruction about how believers should live in a culture that is neutral at best and hostile at worst to our faith. We must remember that Jesus is for everyone, even - and especially - those who oppose biblical values.
7 principles for being an effective culture-restorer
"And the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will" (II Timothy 2:24-26).
What kind of approach is going to win the people who ignore or despise biblical values?
1. Kind, not quarrelsome. "And the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone..."
2. Teaching, not preaching. "...able to teach..."
3. Patient, not annoyed. "... patiently enduring evil..."
4. Correcting, not acquiescing. "... correcting his opponents..."
5. Gentle, not harsh. "... with gentleness..."
6. God, not me. "God may perhaps grant them repentance..." (Note: This is why we must pray on this day and every day!)
7. Hope, not despair. "... they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil..."
Remember, you can win the argument, but lose the battle. Our attitude and approach to people and to culture must be just as biblical as our beliefs lest we alienate the very ones we have been called to reach.
Question: Which of the 7 principles do you think the church is lacking the most?