Saturday, March 19, 2011
GUEST POST by JENNIFER SLATTERY
Last summer our family spent a week in Branson. While there, we met a woman passionate about the life movement and we engaged in conversation. She told me a story of a pregnant girl she reached out to. One day, she spoke with the girl’s single, impoverished father who asked her, “Are you going to be here to help pay the expenses once the baby’s born?”
What he was asking was, “Do you really care, or are we just an agenda, just a battle to fight? Will you, so focused on speaking truth, walk with us when we put action to your words?”
This stuck with me, and is something I ask myself every time I’m tempted to engage in a battle. And there’s plenty of battles to fight, aren’t there? If we want to, we can spin from one to the next, Bible thumping every unsuspecting passerby hard enough to leave them dazed…and enraged. At Easter we’ll fight against the Easter Bunny. Come Christmas we’ll write articles, boycott stores and give long-winded sermons fighting for the phrase, “Merry Christmas”. Then we’ll grab our picket signs and line every street corner in protest of abortion.
But here’s the thing, while we’re drawing battle lines, people are dying. And seeing a “Merry Christmas” or an “abortion is murder” sign isn’t going to save them. In fact, most often our long-winded debates fall on deaf ears because it is impossible, yep, impossible, for man to understand spiritual things apart from Christ. There’s only one way to change societies, and that’s by changing hearts. And there’s only one way to change hearts, and that’s by bringing them to the cross.
Let me explain it another way. Or, better yet, how about I allow the Bible to explain it for me:
21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.
24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.
28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done.
Absence of God leads to depraved thinking. All these battles we fight are the result of depraved minds living out sinful lusts. So how do you fight a depraved mind? You don’t. You introduce the depraved mind to Jesus and let Him change them from the inside out.
Think about it for a moment. What if every dollar and hour we spent on picket signs and protests we spent on outreach, instead? How many lives would be changed? How many souls would be saved? And once those depraved minds were transformed by the love of Christ, how many issues would there be to fight. Folks, we’re merely chasing fires here. Instead of fighting fires, why not start making people fire proof?
Now, I’m not saying never speak truth, but never let your truth mask your love. Even now as I write this, numerous “truth-speakers” come to mind. Funny thing is, although I frequently see them in Bible study or standing in the church pew, Bible in one hand and concordance in the other, I’ve never seen them at the women and children’s shelter.
Truth is important, but it must never separate from love. The next time you’re ready to fight a battle, before you enter into that debate, ask yourself, “Would I die for this person? Am I ready to stand by them and to walk with them?”
Unless your answer is yes, walk away.
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