I get this question every now and then: We all feel a level of tension with the direction of society today, and maybe because of my role people often ask me: “How do I fight against all the changes happening in government and culture these days?”
As a Christ follower and a Pastor, people are often surprised by my answer. I guess most people are expecting me to talk about banning this, boycotting that, or voting this way or that.
What I tell them is that my role model is Jesus.
When I think about the political climate during the 33 years Jesus walked the earth…. Let’s just say, I think the people of that era would trade their circumstances with us in a heartbeat.
Jesus had every opportunity to change the political landscape of his day (And it would have realy been needed). But he spent his time focused on what I would assume were more important things to him…. Faith, Hope and Love
There is only one powerful political organization he spoke out against and worked to reform.
The church. Let that sink in.
We have four choices when faced with inevitable culture shifts.
Fight. Flight. Absorb. Engage.
Some will say we need to fight culture. What if instead of fighting we (Christ followers) focused on being the most patient, humble, respectful, loving, and empathetic group of people on the planet? If Jesus really is our role model, this should be the goal.
Others will tell you to flee from culture, to isolate from people who see the world differently than you. The gospels are full of stories of Jesus going out of his way to connect to people who were different (including people who were seen as outcasts by the mainstream religious leaders of the day). If we are called to reach people for Christ, isolation is not an option.
We also cannot simply absorb a culture that doesn’t reflect Jesus. We’re different and that’s ok.
Just make sure your differences reflected are based on Jesus’ character and the fruits of the spirit; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
You can be different without feeling or acting boastful. As a Christ follower, we should know our status doesn’t come from anything of value that we do, but instead from what Jesus did.
So that leaves me with Engage. We must engage in culture, not fear it.
We need to ask good questions and get to know and love people with different perspectives and values.
My challenge is to live your life in a way that someone would want to engage in healthy dialogue with you no matter how divisive the issue. Strive to model Jesus and reflect humility, patience, respect, love, and empathy.
By Todd Baughman