(while staying gentle)
There is nothing easy about living the Christian life when you do it the way Jesus did it.
By Gerald Shuler
"And another of his disciples said unto him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead." Matthew 8:21,22
Isn’t it wonderful that we live in such an enlightening age of knowledge? We know all about what makes things work because we have libraries chock full of books written by experts that tell us how things work. All we have to do is read a book and we, too, can become an expert at anything we choose. We call it “education”.
But what has all our education really taught us? A long list would include things such as technology, medical science, human behavior, and even space travel. The short list of what we have learned, though, would glaringly spotlight one thing: we have learned the importance of being politically correct if we want to get ahead in life. In other words, we haven’t really learned anything worth knowing. We have forfeited God’s wisdom for man’s knowledge. And where has THAT gotten us?
It has gotten us to the brink of destruction.
Actually, though, it was no different when Jesus walked the earth in his ministry 2,000 years ago. He shocked his generation by not giving a disciple time to go bury his deceased father. That seems to be an excessively harsh stand for someone who is our Prince of Peace, doesn’t it?
But then, of course, He also said:
"Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword." Mat_10:34
Have we missed it somewhere? Are we supposed to be aggressive or passive? Those looking for an easy, ‘one-size-fits-all’ answer will most likely be disappointed in my own answer.
We too often lose our family members and friends to the world simply because we don’t love them enough to be tough as nails about what we believe. We SAY we love them, but how could we really love them if we are afraid to talk to them about what they need the most? They need to accept Jesus before it is too late. If we don’t tell them... who will?
I would rather have you hate me for telling you about Jesus than to “love” me because I don’t pester you about what I believe. Go ahead... hate me and get saved. Then you will finally learn how to love me with a true love.
God forgive me if I forget that part of my Christian walk. The world system is getting more unGodly every day and the unsaved (and even the WEAK saved) are too easily swayed to believe that it is “okay” to close our eyes to the wicked ways we have allowed to dominate our lives. We Christians MUST stand firm, unshakable in our faith in Christ. We MUST call sin “Sin” and leave no doubt as to why we believe that way. We MUST be ready to offend if we are going to reach the lost for Christ.
But we must at the same time make it unmistakably clear that it is the SIN we stand against... not the sinner. God loved the sinner so much he sent His Son to pay the price for our sins. If God loved you that much how dare I do less?
In publishing a newspaper like this one it is easy to sound like a trumpet blowing loose cannon, ready to fire deadly shots at anyone who has a different opinion than my own. Let me clarify what my true stand is... and always will be.
God created you with a wonderful attribute called “Free Will”. That means you have permission from God Himself to listen to the facts, opinions, even the lies and misconceptions from whatever sources you are willing to listen to and then CHOOSE what YOU will believe. By its very nature that means you have the right to make the wrong choice. I respect that right... deeply. If you come to me as one of your sources of information, though, I will ALWAYS be consistant about my belief that Jesus is the only way to secure eternal life.
I will never back down from my tough determination to see you come to the Lord. It is a frightening thing to think that anyone might choose NOT to accept Jesus, though, because of something I have said or written. Nothing could be farther than what I want for you.
That is why, while remaining tough in what I say, I will NEVER back away from the genuine gentle love I have for you as a creation of God.
After all, who needs to listen to anything I have to say if it isn’t based on love?