Culture Shock Q&A: Where Do We Go From Here?
Each week during the Culture Shock series, you will have the opportunity to submit follow-up questions on the week’s topic to our pastoral staff. If you have a question, email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q. How do you balance speaking Biblical truth in an age that is acting less Biblical with “being for people”? You can come off sounding shrill to the world when you speak the truth. When you don’t intend to be.
A. This is a great question. Let me answer it in two parts:
First we (followers of Jesus) must have a platform to stand on as we speak. Speaking into a culture that is “less Biblical” requires a consistent life that is reflecting the Gospel: we are a people who are sinful – yet forgiven and thus forgiving. We are people who have been sought and found by Jesus – we want that for others. We are accepted – so we accept others. We are loved – so we love others.
It is living 1 Peter 2:12: “Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.”
So the first part is a life that reflects the truth about our relationship with Jesus; that gives us a platform to speak.
Secondly, speaking truth must always be done out of love for others. Jesus spoke the truth to people in such a way that they did not feel condemned by him. The woman at the well, the woman caught in adultery, and Zacchaeus the tax collector – they were able to hear truth and were changed. Now others heard the truth and walked away from Jesus unsatisfied: the rich young ruler, several pharisees and rulers of the law, people who did not want to change – they wanted Jesus to change.
In the story of the rich young ruler, it says Jesus loved him; but it did not prevent Jesus from speaking truth.
So – I would say that we need to engage our world with a humble heart and have a love for others that when we do share truth with them that it is received as an act of love and delivered by someone who is forgiven much and who loves deeply.
This is very, very difficult to do consistently without a rich relationship with Jesus and encouragement from others who believe.
An answer from someone who is really trying to get this right and doesn’t succeed as readily as he should,
In the Grip of Grace,