Recognizing we are all products of the Fall keeps us focused on love, rather than judgment.
By Bill Hall, National Director, Canada
Without a doubt we live in very trying times. As Christians and for Canadians (you can add your nationality) in general, we face an onslaught of what I would call “change.” And much of it is challenging to us as believers.
Where I reside, in the province of Saskatchewan, we are dealing with the legacy of church-run residential schools, and Indigenous rights. In Canadian society and elsewhere, we face issues dealing with gender identity and the pronouns we use to describe who we are. There are also issues for some around immigration, and what it means to be Canadian. Then add all the conversations around COVID and human rights.
It makes me want to push back and try to influence those around me both churched and unchurched to move back to a saner, (some would say Biblical) and recognizable place where “right is right” and “wrong is wrong.” I just want to go back to the “good old days” when the church had more influence in my society.
But I need to be careful taking this approach. It can be a big distraction that can consume me to the point where I neglect my purpose as a follower of Jesus, which is to live and share the gospel.
And what does the gospel tell us? Why did Jesus come?
It tells us that all people are fallen and affected by the fall (yes, including Christians). All of us can only be brought back by the love of God through the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Our identity can only be found in Jesus. He is the “true human” to which all other people can never compare. And finally, the triune God’s ultimate purpose for all of us is to be in relationship with him.
It is not the role of me as a Christian to try to fix what I cannot fix, and I am not called to point out people’s sins to them. There is a reason Jesus told his disciples that we are of a different kingdom.
And if I get into the mindset of longing for the “good old days” when the church had more influence in society, all I have to do is examine what happened back then.
There were times when the church participated in the removal of Indigenous children from their families to Canadianize them. In other places, there were segments of the church that supported slavery or colonialism because those who were different were not on the same plane of existence as those in charge.
The other day, I read this passage in Philippians that helped me to understand the approach I need to consider:
Therefore, if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. (Philippians 2:1-4)
How can I ever value others above myself, to be a light for God’s kingdom, when I do not realize that I need to point to the light that has been shown to me? That only in Jesus can we all have true healing, repentance, and restoration.
I need that message to avoid being distracted!