So, recently my husband and I were challenged with a situation that resulted in an outcome that was not exactly what I was hoping for. (how's that for vague? :-) In the midst of the situation and all the wrestling that went along with it, I had some revelations. God was using this situation to bring about something else in my heart and work on some things there. I read an article about how the church has really left a bad taste in the mouth of the world. I know that is obvious to many of us that we see and hear how non-believers have been burned, hurt, etc...and now don't want anything to do with the church or Christianity. THere are days worth of discussions behind the whys of this, but what I was intrigued by was our response....my response in my own heart. It seems many, in an attempt to try and not offend those around us who are among the numbers of hurt and burned, that our approach has been to remove the mention of Jesus from our conversations. "Let's talk about God's love and acceptance and purpose for their lives, but let's not mention Jesus.....it's too controversial and offensive." I know for me, I have in many conversations danced around the topic of Jesus for these very reasons as well as the huge obstacle of really not wanting to be rejected. After hearing a sermon recently from a minister from a few years ago, though, I had a revelation....and that is, that when you seek the approval of man, you are exhibiting a man-centered view point (aka "supremacy of man"). I know there are times when I have served the interests of man (others and self included) by my attempts to "share God" or hope with others and all the while serving the interestes of man, as if others opinion of me is the first priority. I was challenged to rethink this approach with a "supremacy of Christ" mentality. How would it change my interactions with others if instead of being worried about offending them, or being disliked, I was more concerned with sharing the life-saving hope of the gospel of Jesus Christ? Jesus did what He saw His Father do. He had his eyes fixed on the Father at all times. And as He walked out his ministry with His eyes fixed on God, He didn't have to worry about how people would receive (or not) the truth. I am not trying to give a blanket approach to evangelism, and say that we must always give every step of the Romans road to every person we meet, but instead, I am making statements regarding the attitudes and motivations of my heart. I don't want to shrink back from sharing His truth out of fear or concern for what others will think. The bottom line is, eventually, in order for someone to come to God, they must first go through the Door. There is only one door to God and that is Jesus Christ. I want people to come to know the love of God desperately, but at some point, they must choose to accept the way that God provided to get to Him. I am not completely opposed to the idea of seeker friendly churches...to be honest, I haven't spent a lot of time thinking about it. But the attitude I sense a lot is this, "Whatever you do, don't mention the name of Jesus, don't talk about sin, and don't tell them they need to repent of anything." Wait a minute.....isn't that the crux of the gospel message???? We HAVE all sinned...we DO need to repent (that was the message of John the Baptist who "prepared to way" for Jesus to come). And then it occured to me again....if the gospel isn't for the lost, then who is it for?
The implications of this aren't just for the lost though, the idea of being afraid to speak truth also applies in situations where we are addressing believers as well. There is a kingdom at stake....there are people walking around in broken relationship with the Father or not in relationship at all. As I ponder all that God means to me, and especially as I have been reflecting on Jesus as we approach this Easter season, I am overwhelmed at his love for me! And what hope I have been given, this is the hope I have to share :-)