Why do some Christians act so ungraciously?
There are many reasons, I suppose, but none of them seem to hold water when we consider that to call ourselves “Christian” is to say we follow Jesus and practice a lifestyle that resembles His example. To say Christianity as a whole and we, as Christians, are under attack would not be an exaggeration. Did someone start you out of your spiritual “starting blocks” without some understanding that we are engaged in a spiritual war and that at this present time the world as we tread upon it is under the temporary rule of a very powerful adversary, the devil? Are people really the problem or is it as God says “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (Eph. 6:12)
As we look around us, whether it be in congress, in courts, in the public schools, or in institutions of “higher” learning, we see what appears to us as moral change which marks society’s decay and we don’t like it. It can scare us, can’t it? Sometimes we can feel like we are about to wade in a cesspool or are already wet from it. Perhaps it is because we are believers that we possess a greater sensitivity to the state of the world, yearning for a better day and for it to become a better place. As God has “put eternity into man’s hearts” (Eccl. 3:11), so also may He have given us a longing for what was once peace and beauty in the garden and what will one day be a renewed world. Even given this hope, our frustrations for the present are not an excuse for anger or ungracious behavior. Because of this hope, are we to curse the darkness or light a candle illuminating the pathway to peace from and peace with God?
In this country which has long been the beacon of light and freedom to the world (and is still the destination of choice for millions of immigrants), we outrank most other industrialized countries in crime, divorce, youth suicide, abortion, drug use, children on welfare and illegitimate births (if that term can be used in PC America). Yet despite this, as we are called to do, we hold out the hope of the world, which is the person and gospel of Jesus . . . . with confidence in our hearts and hope on our faces. “So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us?” (Rom. 8:31 The Msg.)
On many fronts we feel more like an embattled minority with our values under constant attack. Fair enough, that’s true. Even within the ranks of Christendom we anguish that clear biblical precepts are ignored or not held in esteem by many churches. As we look through scripture and the Old Testament in particular, we see God owning the battle. Never do we see in scripture God having concern about having enough people to fight “His” fights. In fact, we often see Him thinning the ranks of His supporters so He rightfully gets the glory when the battle is ended. “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1)
Just as God historically brought His message through the nation of Israel, God will work through His church, however small the faithful remnant, to reclaim this world to Himself and reestablish it according to His design. We need not worry, even though we must persist through darkness and oppression and the temptation to be afraid. We have experienced nothing compared to much of the world, though we still may.Yet we can take comfort in knowing that we are never alone to face any hardship or fight any battle. “I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matt. 28:20) Though we may be disappointed in much of what the world puts on display, God’s greatest calling card to the lost of this world is the ones He has redeemed in this world. As gracious as He was in sending Jesus to us while we were still a broken, sinful mess, so we must also be as we partner with Him in His story of redemption in which the last scene has yet to be revealed. Christ in us is the hope of the world. The world! Think About It.