In Matthew 10:16, Jesus enjoins his disciples to be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. John describes Jesus as being “full of grace and truth” in John 1:14. Both of these verse show that we are to be precise and determined in our thinking but open and gracious in our behavior toward others. To simplify this, we are to be hard headed but soft hearted.
Yet, I see in Christendom the complete reverse at times. “Scholars” equivocate on the truth of Scripture and ill treat those who stand for that truth.
We need to stand firm on Scripture while taking care that we are not offensive or provocative in our presentation of truth. We are to be firm on what Scripture says and flexible where Scripture provides freedom. Jesus should be our example in this.
I see in Jesus one who never equivocated on the truth, yet the sinners, drug dealers, prostitutes, homeless, terrorists and extortionists followed and adored him. Jesus was attractive to a sin-sick world. The church needs to take a look in the mirror and ask why we are not attractive to that same world. We are supposed to be representatives of Jesus, yet somehow we tarnish his image as we bear it.
Perhaps the starting point is for the church to do a better job of understanding the Gospel and releasing the good news from the behavioral modification that too often passes as evangelism. We are not called to change people, that is God’s job. We are called to preach the good news of Jesus Christ. Jesus and the gospel are fully capable of affecting the desired change.
Let’s be hard headed as to what the gospel really is. It really is good news that a dying world longs to hear. But let’s be soft hearted toward those who desperately need the gospel. They need us to be resolute and loving. If we are that lost world might start finding Jesus again.
What do you think?