Helping Our Children Stand In & Influence an Ungodly Culture: It's All in The Balance
We aren’t living in a new era, where suddenly the culture is hostile to Christianity. It feels a bit like it here in America, because our country has seen a shift over the last several hundred years from heavy Christian influence to increasing godlessness.
But sin is as old as the earth and the Christians in the Bible faced far more hostility than we face when it comes to standing for righteousness.
As a parent in this generation, one of my greatest efforts is turned toward equipping my children to not only stand firm in a culture where sin is exalted, but to be effective in influencing those around them.
The 2 Ditches
There are 2 ditches the church seems to fall into to answer the dilemma of engaging a sinful culture. One is to beat people over the head with truth and then walk away feeling smugly adequate in our “presentation” of what it means to be set apart. Truth may be present, but it’s not effective because there’s a missing ingredient: grace.
The other ditch is grace without truth. Sadly, a large percentage of the church has fallen into a camp that says, “If it doesn’t feel like love (and by love we mean acceptance), it isn’t loving, and that’s our number one job as Christians. The Bible says so.”
But actually neither of those positions is loving. And neither is what Jesus taught us. The answer is a balance of truth and grace.
The best example in the Bible of our approach to sin is Jesus’s interaction with the adulteress woman. He didn’t humiliate her (he waited until the crowd had gone away to even confront her personally). He didn’t shame her (she knew what she had done was wrong). He didn’t yell at her about right and wrong.
But he also didn’t tell her she was “OK just as you are.” He didn’t tell her love trumps everything, even sin, so she was welcome to continue living as an adulteress, as long as her heart was in the right place and she loved God. (Which is a contradiction.)
He extended grace to her because of His love, and He offered her the power to be changed. She had the choice to “go and stop sinning” after her encounter with the living Savior. Jesus offered her the ONLY thing that would heal her: repentance and forgiveness, made possible by grace.
What we think is loving may not be
To excuse sin and exchange the standard of truth (God’s Word) for being in the popular crowd of acceptance, is unloving. How hateful is it to lie to them for temporary gratification, only to find out, when we stand before the Judge, that we are both condemned–us for having led others astray, and them for believing our lie?
Neither is it loving to assume a position of pride, not really caring as much about whether a person hears the gospel of grace and truth than about getting our point across and feeling good about being “right.”
As we stand for truth we must extend grace and kindness at the same time. Remembering what WE were saved from, and all we’ve been forgiven.
There is one answer to the brokenness and sinfulness around us: it is the truth of Jesus Christ that sets all who believe FREE, made possible by grace. How tragic if we miss the opportunity to share that by a lack of one or the other.
May the Lord give us boldness and humility, grace and truth, wisdom and kindness as we proclaim the liberty that is in Christ.
Originally written by Kelly Crawford for Generation Cedar.