I have strong Christian convictions. But the more I explore and try to live out these convictions, I’ve come to regret how it is that so many Christians come across to those who don’t yet believe. Stereotypes about Christians abound and sadly, some of them have roots in at least a seed of truth. We’re known as anti-certain people, we’re known as judgmental, we’re known as buzzkills, we’re often viewed as somehow opposing science. But what troubles me the most is that many have come to view Christians as unloving.
I recently came across this quote:
“War. Rape. Murder. Poverty. Equal rights for gays. Guess which one the Southern Baptist Convention is protesting?”
Wow. That really struck me. You may say that it doesn’t apply to you because you’re not Southern Baptist, but that would be an exercise in missing the point. The point is that, to a large segment of the population, Christians are seen to be so focused on a few social issues (yes, I understand the importance of issues like marriage and abortion, so please don’t think I’m minimizing those) that we don’t care about the radical injustice of the world. How in the world have we come to this?
After all, shouldn’t we, above anyone else, be marked by love and compassion? It seems that, somewhere along the way, in our well-intentioned pursuit of holiness, we withdrew from society and actual relationships with anyone outside our immediate socio-economic sphere, that, when we decided that we did want to engage in meaningful issues, we could only do so from a distance which means that the “political hotbutton” issues get more of our time and energy because those are largely “conceptual.” You don’t have to know anyone who has had an abortion to have an opinion. You don’t have to know any homosexual people to have an opinion on whether or not they should be allowed to marry.
But many issues of injustice require us to get involved. They challenge our comfort and condemn our complacency. How is it that we, who should be known by our love have come to actually be viewed as lacking compassion? Shouldn’t we be leading the way? Isn’t “justice” an implication of the outworking of the Gospel in everyday life? Shouldn’t we be actively, intimately involved in working against the effects of the Fall? Shouldn’t we be known by our love?