We were talking in Sunday School about Christians and our role in the world. What should be our focus?
Some Christians are very involved politically, exerting a lot of time and energy to bring about policy change. Some Christians focus much of their time and energy on boycotts and writing letters to certain companies whose policies are offensive. Some Christians are involved in charities and helping the poor.
Should these be our main goals?
I think all of these activities are OK. Some of them are even good. But I do not want us to fool ourselves. We will not bring about real change through political activism, corporate boycott, or civic philanthropy. Those activities focus on the surface of issues. We can only participate in real change when we address the heart. Real change requires the power of the Gospel.
Fortunately, we Christians have that power, and we have been charged with freely giving the Gospel to everyone we meet. Unfortunately, many of us do not obey that charge and we fail to tap into the power that has been given to us.
Our associate pastor said in our Sunday School discussion — something to the effect of — it doesn’t do any good to change minds; we need to be a part of changing hearts. Political discussions and activism can change minds, but the Gospel can change hearts.
He also said that Christians are now getting involved politically because for years and years, Christians failed to be active politically and failed to share Christ and let our country slip out of control. Now, Christians are trying to force a Judeo-Christian veneer over a country that isn’t Judeo-Christian any more. We can’t make our country look Judeo-Christian. But if we form relationships with people and share Christ with them, we can make a real difference one soul at a time.
This whole conversation (along with some great discussion over at my friend Molly’s blog ) has gotten my brain going. Our main focus MUST be the Great Commission. Our main focus MUST be Christ. Our main focus MUST be telling others the good news.
We recently had a missionary visit our church. He is a former Muslim from a Middle Eastern country who is now a Christian. He travels to that part of the world a few times a year to train Christian pastors, church planters, and church leaders from all over the Arab world. He told us that, though he supports the United State’s efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan and believes it is a necessary war, bringing democracy to the Arab world is not the real solution. The real solution is to bring Christ to the Arab world. This missionary and his organization are fighting a war in the Middle East — they are fighting not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers. His focus is Christ — fighting terrorism by the power of the Spirit of the Prince of Peace.
So . . . I had this little epiphany. It sure is easier to write a letter to my senator in support of a marriage amendment than it is to befriend a homosexual and share Christ with her. Don’t get me wrong — I’m in favor of the marriage amendment. But I don’t think that supporting that alone is the end of my Christian responsibilities. If I am really concerned about the sin of homosexuality, then I should form friendships with homosexuals and love them and tell them about Jesus. Banning homosexual marriage doesn’t address the heart of the issue; only the Word of God and the good news of salvation can do that.
I’m all for political activism and civic philanthropy (I’m not quite as convinced those corporate boycotts work), but these things have to be done as a subset of the main thing, spreading the Gospel.
What’s my focus? Am I distracted by a lot of good things? Or do I — like the apostle Paul — maintain my focus and press forward with the Gospel?