Sunday, December 13, 2015

Advent: A Time of Boldness

I'm a bit under the weather today, so admittedly, I might just be a little cranky. I am annoyed. I'm annoyed, because people assume I should be annoyed. Or offended. Starbucks uses plain red cups. Every other meme on Facebook proposes being rebellious: offering "Merry Christmas" when somebody wishes me "Happy Holidays." Atheist billboards suggest Christmas is all about Santa Claus. "President Obama is the anti-Christ because he promotes abortion rights and the LGBT agenda." STOP! STOP!

I am so sick of Christians whining and making excuses for what we have failed to do! How can any Christian suck their teeth or shake their heads at the condition of the world today, and not feel one ounce of responsibility? "Not me. I became a Christian at the age of four, have been evangelizing and feeding the poor ever since. I've never spoken a hateful word, or coveted my friend's Nintendo, or watched an R-rated movie, or ignored a beggar, or failed to share the Gospel, or..."
"But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8)
 Don't you get it? We were "the world"? At some point we have all shared their fears, goals, misconceptions, desires, insolence, pain, apathy... We have been there! How quickly we forget that someone had a meaningful dialogue with us, demonstrated grace toward us and showed us the Lord!

And even then we didn't always get it right. There are Christians who do not see how materialism impacts their desire for God. There are Christians trapped in legalism. There are Christians who wrestle with addictions and bad choices. We come in all shapes and sizes, but our eyes should be fixed on Jesus as we move through this life. That is the tie that binds.

And that is far more important than taking offense every time a non-believer, pre-believer, immature Christian -- whatever, whoever does something with which we disagree. Or even with which God disagrees. Fine to recognize -- even hate the true enemy of us all, but as Christians we have been graciously spared his destruction, and inducted into Christ's service. If we can't speak in love to those who have not experienced God's grace, if we can't see this as an opportunity to do for them what was done for us, at least let us keep our eyes on our own paper.

In reference to politics and religion, an outspoken atheist I know said, "Let them fly their flags. Let them identify themselves loudly and boldly. That way I know just who I'm dealing with!" I answered, "Amen!" because that idea has never applied more to those who revile my Savior and scoff at what I know. Let them identify themselves. And begin a conversation I am obligated to have with them.

Rant over. Please return to your regularly scheduled Christmas festivities.

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