Have you ever felt the need to be quiet? To not say anything, even when what you are watching/seeing/hearing is wrong, for fear of the backlash, the label, the stigma that you are "one of those" Christians who is all about judgment and little grace? This seems to be where I am finding myself these days. And it has caused me to retreat from blogging or sharing my heart on anything, besides what I know to be politically correct and accepted by all. Which is basically nothing. Because we debate everything under the sun these days, even down to what type of diapers we put on our babies' butts.
And so silence seems like the best position to take in the name of love and peace and, you know, actually having friends.
But the more I think about it, the more I realize that silence is less about loving people and more about them loving you.
We don't want to offend. So we tread lightly. We don't want to call out any particular sin in someone's life. Because, I mean, who are we to judge? We speak in generalizations and never really say anything.
And we feel validation in the fact that people like us. People find us approachable. People can be themselves around us - eat, drink and be merry!
And without even realizing it, we've made it all about... us.
I know some have come in the name of "Christianity," with their boycotts and picketing, and made the rest of us feel like we need to spend our lives making up for our tainted reputations. But we don't. Not really. That's just a lie that we've believed. Our reputations are always faltering and changing anyway, Christian or not. If there's anything we can be certain of as followers of Christ, it's that the world will hate us.
"And the world hates them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world." - John 17:14
"If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first. The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you." - John 15:18-19
"And all nations will hate you because you are my followers. But everyone who endures to the end will be saved." - Matthew 10:22
But, people loved Jesus. I hear you. That's always been my defense too. But did people really love Jesus? All the time? Like remember that time when he was preaching that he was the bread of life and that no one could come to the Father unless the Father gives them to him? (See John 6) It said many people turned away and deserted him after that. Because it was offensive.
Listen, I'm not saying we need to join the protests or fill our churches with sermons of condemnation. But I believe there is a third option. Speaking the truth, in love. With gentleness. Proclaiming to a lost world that Jesus is the way! That sin is sin. And that repentance is necessary.
Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. - Ephesians 4:15
I know just writing this out and reading over the Scriptures listed above has helped bring about a revival in my spirit. To quit seeking the approval of man. Forget silence. Forget political correctness... I'm mad at Hillsong! There I said it.
And not just them, but the whole movement that teaches you can't be straightforward about sin AND still be loving. I am a messed up sinner myself, and there are times my husband has been straight forward with me about areas in my life that need repentance. You know the one thing that never crossed my mind? He doesn't love me! If anything, I felt loved enough that he would point it out. And also, I felt loads of remorse and disgust for what I had done.
That's true repentance.
We're becoming a generation of "Thumpers." And not the "Bible-thumpers" that everyone loves to hate. The one from Bambi that coined the phrase, "If you can't say something nice, don't say nothing at all." (Some of you just learned that wasn't in the Bible) It's time to quit hiding behind the veil of wanting to show love to people and admit it, we just really want people to love us.
Update: Brian Houston, pastor of Hillsong Church, has issued a statement which clarifies the context regarding his first statement. While this issue was not the sole reason for writing this post, I do feel like it needed to be clarified that I am in no way discrediting Hillsong Church or their ministry. I believe they are doing great things for the Kingdom of God! Praying that the gospel continues to be preached!