I saw something recently that struck a deep chord within my heart. It went something like this: “Since when did we (Christians) become more concerned with being socially acceptable than with saving the lost?”
Talk about woah.
Often times I do find myself in the middle of this teeter-totter of western Christianity. One side holds truth and the gospel, and the other social and cultural acceptance.
We as Christians obviously want people to like us. We don’t want the world to hate us. So we step towards social acceptance.
But woah! Watch out, we still have to have truth, so we take a step towards the other side.
But uh-oh, now people are starting to get offended, so back off, and move slightly over to the opposite side again.
Then, wouldn’t you know, we find a nice happy medium dead center. Not offending people and being liked, and yet still kind of holding onto a half-gospel that we think should keep God happy enough.
Well what the heck is that?
Jesus was not a balanced man.
He was not socially acceptable.
He was not culturally accommodating.
He offended a lot of people.
He had a lot of people hate him.
But he also saved the whole world too.
And in doing so he taught us something. You cannot please both God and man.
You cannot love the lost and be socially acceptable.
You cannot serve two masters.
Friendship with the world is enmity with God.
But I’m being vague and slightly ambiguous so let’s zoom in here.
I’m sitting at a table in a nice restaurant. I receive a word from the Lord that my waitress is dealing with some pretty tough stuff right now. I should tell her about his love and share the gospel right? Aw, but that would be obnoxious and rude, to bring up personal issues with someone I don’t know right? I’ll tell you what Jesus would have done. He would have told her everything that was going on in her life and wrecked her with the strength of truth and love.
I’m in a hospital room. My friend’s parent is in serious condition. Do I pray out loud right then and there, and plead with God for their life? It’s a hospital. People are dying left and right, I should just quietly lay my hand on her and pray right? I’ll tell you what Jesus would have done. He would have cried all day and night for their life.
I’m giving a speech for philosophy class. Do I mention God or not? Everyone in this class is an atheist. If I mention God they might alienate me and then I’ll never win them over, right? You know what Jesus would have done.
I’m at a dinner party with friends. We’re all talking at the table, catching up, everyone’s laughing, having a good time. I feel the Spirit nudge me to bring the conversation to something more serious, heavenly-minded, and to start people praying for what God’s laid on my heart. But not here right? Awkward. Let me just set up a different time and place with everyone that we can pray at. I don’t want to be that guy. The one that just ruins the good time everyone’s having. Right?
Scene: I’m working third shift at the emergency room, and during my last round a patient died. I was the nurse in the room, so I had to pronounce them dead. But something in me stirs to pray for them. Woah. Totally unacceptable. This is my job, I’m just the nurse, not the chaplain, and their family is here, mourning their loss. That would be totally out-of-line to pray for this dead person.
And the answer to the last one is obvious. Because Jesus did have a situation like that. No, he wasn’t a nurse, but he did interrupt a funeral. And not only did he interrupt this funeral but he told the crowd who was mourning that the girl whom he was about to raise to life was not dead, but asleep. What a scandalous thing to say! How rude! How out-of-line! Wasn’t Jesus aware of the culture back then? What was he thinking? Well what was he thinking when he randomly tells a woman that he knows she’s a slut and can’t keep a husband for too long?
He wasn’t thinking.
He was simply listening.
Maybe our problem is we think more than we listen to HIS voice.
Here’s the thing. We can’t follow both God and our comfort. We can’t desire to be both popular and obedient to God. We cannot love the world and our Heavenly Father. It just doesn’t work. They’re opposites. You will trip and fall and everyone will look at you like the fake you are simply because you can’t let go of friendship with the world.
I feel like I’m not making any sense, and it’s late so I’ll wrap it up quick.
Basically, I’m convicted every time a coworker says they have a headache or some other medical problem and I don’t pray for them simply because I’m working and that would be awkward and out of place. I’m convicted every time I withhold the truth of the gospel from someone because I want them to like me and not think I’m some bible-thumper. I’m convicted every time I watch something or laugh at a joke with non-believers just because I don’t want them to think I got my panties in a wad and don’t know how to have fun.
I’m tired of this fight for balance.
This eternal struggle for that happy medium.
Wouldn’t it just be simpler to do what Jesus did and told us to do too?
To love our Heavenly Father more than loving the world, and to desire to please him more than pleasing man, and to want to obey his word more than wanting to be socially acceptable?
I hate this teeter-totter. I want off.
Jesus wasn’t socially acceptable.
He wasn’t culturally sensitive.
He offended a lot of people.
He didn’t need everyone to love him and think he was the greatest person alive.
He just loved God and loved people.
But in that order.
“You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”