We all have blind spots. It’s so easy to see the fault in someone else or in another group but so difficult to see the limitations in ourselves. Unless you learn to see the faults in yourself and your heroes, though, you can’t appreciate how God has gifted other Christians. Only then can you understand that Jesus died for this body, which only accepts the sick. Only then can we together meet the challenges of our rapidly changing age.
Maybe God has softened your heart with compassion for the broken, weak, and abused.
Or he has gifted you with great courage to stand with truth.
Or he has commissioned you with particular zeal and effectiveness to make disciples in all the nations
God doesn’t want us to look down on and suspect the worst of one another. Rather, he intends us to use these diverse gifts to love the world in a church united by the gospel of Jesus Christ. This moment demands our humility, bravery, and creativity. Why should the world know us by our disharmony, discouragement, and disillusion
As we point fingers at each other in the church, the world desperately needs our helping hands. Consider our predicament. We in the West learn from a young age that we’re happy only if we’re free to choose our life adventure. So we trust no one and commit nowhere. Until we turn to Christ, we worship nothing more sacred than self. And we have no greater goal than to be personally healthy and wealthy.
Thankfully, the gospel speaks to every age, including one with no higher aspirations for life than the freedom not to need anyone else except on our guarded terms. And God makes you, Christian, an ambassador of that good news: we can be reconciled to our Creator and live at peace with one another.
Rather than see us as ambassadors of peace, much of the world views the church as oppressive and self-interested. As a result, religious authority has been displaced, despite two millennia of Christian formation that gave shape to nearly every hope and right the West treasures. The new reality can hardly be considered an improvement. The world wonders why our social ties have frayed. Why neighbors don’t look out for each other. Why couples don’t want to get married and don’t stay together when they do. Why we’re plunging into demographic crisis as we wait so long to have children and then stop at one. Why corrupt, ineffective politicians think shouting at each other on news programs will solve problems. Why businesses subsume ethics to the bottom line. Why revolutions depose one despot to replace him with another. Why media promise leisure but leave us nervous and bored with yet another reality TV show intended to make our lives seem somewhat tolerable by comparison. Why our children feel the need to look and act like porn stars if they want to feel affection.
The picture looks bleak. You see it every day in your neighborhood, on the TV, and on your favorite websites. Christians dare not gloat over such suffering. We share in both the responsibility and the effects. We can relate to this disenchantment, because we’re tempted even inside the church to see life in terms of control and power. We, too, fear everyone else is out to get us by limiting our freedom. We can’t escape the culture wars.
Compelled by gospel love, however, we ambassadors of Christ know how to negotiate a truce—that is, if we’ll first lay down the arms we’ve taken up against one another.
By the grace of God we Christians can show the world a better way. Jesus is our guide. He tells the truth about the world. And he gives life to all who ask. When his followers rest together in the love of a long-suffering God who does not share his glory with another, we can give up the fight for our reputation and get on with the work of the kingdom. Even now you can enjoy fellowship overflowing from Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, who from all eternity have loved in perfect harmony. If this God is for us, who can be against us? And how can we be against each other? Because of this gospel, we can see opportunity in the rubble. We can find hope in the ruins
Already you can see encouraging signs of this counter-revolution of grace. In your Christian community you can almost certainly find youthful zeal to love your neighbors near and far in practical ways. Look hard enough and you’ll see new churches that love their neighbors and welcome the stranger to hear about Jesus. You’ll see Christians standing courageously against injustice and telling the good news about Jesus at great risk. You’ll enjoy artists and musicians who beautify our world to serve our creative God. Our heavenly Father forgives our finger pointing and forbears our foolishness. With Jesus we’re never beyond hope.
Content taken from Blind Spots by Collin Hansen, ©2015. Used by permission of Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, Il 60187, www.crossway.org.
Photo by (flickr CC): Michael Yan