More and more, a scary idea permeates our world. This idea creeps in from the shadows without anyone noticing. We sit on our couches and it’s there. We go to the grocery store and it follows us. The menacing creature is the “do nothing, be good” theology. This standpoint makes itself known when Christians stop making themselves known. Just be a good person. Your witness is being nice and doing the right thing. You don’t need to talk about your faith. Just live it out.
Not speaking up about my faith brings me back to college. I went to a Christian university and I was surprised one day when one of my international friends, who was not a Christian, asked, “Are you religious?” He knew I went to church. He knew I said I was a Christian; but when it came to my faith, I didn’t talk about it. I thought it was assumed. This friend was so used to being surrounded by “good people” that it took more than good actions for him to notice someone’s faith.
Just as I made the assumption that everyone around me knew about Christ, I think it is easy for many Christians in Western culture, especially in the United States, to assume that everyone has heard about Jesus. We just finished the Christmas season by showing little replica mangers, enjoying a cappella songs about Mary, and watching our favorite Christmas movies. The problem about making the assumption that everyone knows about Jesus and His saving grace is that among all the noise, non-Christians are just hearing about red cups and anger over “happy holidays.” Is this the message that we want to send people?
The news is covered by shouting groups that feel jaded by the church. Some Christians are coming around and getting it right: they are trying to be hospitable to non-Christians and to share God’s love instead of shouting their beliefs in anger and desperation. One phrase that I often express is, “God is in control.” While this phrase may sound cliché, it rings true. I am not saying that Christians should not stand up for what they believe or not fight for what is right, but we do not need to sound desperate, unloving, or harsh.
Jesus hung out with sinners to the point that it was a scandal. He did not care if it made Him look bad. He knew that the Father’s ways are greater than our ways, and He had a plan that involved inviting everyone into His world instead of putting up a wall. He literally and purposefully placed Himself in danger to the point of death. We need to let that sink in—to love and to be like Christ does not mean immediate comfort or safety. Jesus crossed a threshold that seemed hopeless to His followers. Death seemed final. But God will have His way. Jesus could not have risen back to life without dying first. What is true love without sacrifice and what is sacrifice if it is easy?
The fact is, talking about our faith is not easy and Satan does not want it to be simple. In order to make this faith known, God has given us a very powerful weapon. This weapon is so strong that it can not only touch the heart–but change it completely (Heb 4:12). Faith comes by hearing this incredible tool: the Word of God (Rom 10:17). The rest of my story about my international friend is that I had been reading my Bible just before he asked me about my faith. I believe that God was preparing me for this conversation and giving strength to my words. I believe that He touched my friend’s heart and caused Him to want to ask about my relationship with Jesus. Next time you have an opportunity, speak up and share how you fit in to God’s story. Don’t sit on the sidelines of this spiritual battle–be revolutionary.