The world around us is wrought with pain, suffering, and conflict. I feel like every time I open up social media or turn on the TV these aspects of life are at the forefront. More and more these tragedies are forming and fueling arguments, many of which take place on Facebook or TV where anyone can watch and listen.
Having witnessed some of these very heartbreaking things firsthand, I would like to offer a reminder to my Christian brothers and sisters of our responsibilities and goals as followers of God.
You have been graciously saved from your sin by a God who had no obligation to do so. God has freely offered salvation to all who would simply believe (We call this idea the Gospel). The tragic reality of life is that many people will hear this glorious news and it will have no impact on them. Again I say, this is tragic.
One of the biggest problems I see all over Facebook and the internet today is a refusal to accept that someone will always see differently than us. You could apply this to any rational argument, but the most troubling application for me is in our attempts to advance the good news of the Gospel.
Let me be clear: I have no issue with people attempting to share the Gospel; this is Biblical, and it must be done with fervor and intention. However, I do believe that often times our methods for advancing the name of Jesus do more to fuel arguments and alienate people than spread the hope of new life to those who are spiritually dead.
My goal in writing this today is not to shame or disgrace anyone. Rather, I’d like to draw our attention to some areas where we (speaking generally of the Christian community) tend to ostracize non-Christians, and help to focus our efforts on telling them more effectively about who Jesus is.
1: Arguing isn’t bad. In fact, I believe that debate can be a very healthy tool with which we learn and grow closer to those on the other side. The key to this is motivation. Our arguing should be driven by a mutual respect and desire to learn, not by pride, anger, or selfishness.
2:You and the one with whom you argue are equally worthy of God’s grace. If this stirs in you more fear than hope, you’ve probably missed something along the way. The beautiful reality of the Gospel is that we’re all reliant on the cross. Keeping this at the forefront of all arguments is a good way to ensure that pride and anger don’t overpower our conversations.
3:It is illogical to offer Biblical code as a defense when arguing with a non-Christian. This one is incredibly important. We cannot engage lost people with an attitude of pretention. Rather, we must humble ourselves and enter into debate with love as our primary motivator. The common ground between Christians and non-Christians will never be a shared belief in the Word of God, so why would we ever choose to make that the foundation of our arguments?
Each of us as a Christian is called first and foremost to love God and love those around us. I can only imagine what my Facebook feed would look like if everyone posted and commented out of this motivation. And for those of us who do profess Jesus as Lord, and seek to follow His Word in our daily lives, this is more than just a good idea; this is what is we have been commanded to do.
28 And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Matthew 12:28-31