Advancing the Conversation of Jesus
Jesus warns his disciples that they will be hated by the world. He says in John 15: “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master ‘ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know the One who sent Me.”
It’s clear the world will hate Jesus’ disciples. If you believe that the world hates you, two consequences will emerge. FIRST-There is a tendency to feel like a helpless minority, living in a world that rejects you. If this is true for you, then you will either avoid or withdraw from the people of the world or you might overcompensate and try to control the people of this world and put them into your religious box. So the result is either a holy huddle (we four and no more) or a religious power block to force people to obey your rules and standards.
SECOND-There is a tendency to “take a stand” for righteousness and to establish sacred noble causes that are all opposed to the world. Several years ago, Bob Briner in his book, Roaring Lambs, used to have as a subtitle: “7 Noble Causes That Keep Christians from Changing the World”. He listed the following: 1. Squabbling over prayer in public schools! 2. Making Jesus a right-winger! 3. Thwarting the homosexual agenda! 4. Fighting other Christians over doctrinal purity! 5. Shutting down the abortion clinics! 6. Cleaning up television! 7. Fighting for family values!
This is still happening today-even this past week. A group of “influential” and “intelligent” Christians “taking a stand” against three noble causes, none of which compares to the pre-eminence or transforming power of Jesus. These may be noble causes, but when they become the focus and the “stand” you must take against the world, they push the world away from Jesus. It’s a refusal to make the main thing the main thing. The main thing is Jesus, not these or any other issues no matter how important you believe them to be.
“Taking a stand” can become so ugly. It’s no wonder that many Christians are known for their condemning and judgmental spirit and not for the love of Jesus. For example, it’s impossible to say to a homosexual, “I love you.” Then, to tell him he is going to hell for being a homosexual. You just can’t have it both ways.
If “taking a stand” for a noble cause is more important than introducing Jesus, then it’s too important and way out of bounds!