A Soft Answer

Proverbs 15:1 A soft answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.”

We live in a time of high emotions, split politics, angry mobs, divisiveness, discord and argument being the expectation rather than the exception.

Social media is a forum for expressing opinion before considering delivery. Capital letters express shouting, feeling threatened is the standard and rebellion the response.

God has placed us in the midst of all of this….Believers who are suppose to be a people after God’s own heart, a living expression of Christ to the world are often more caught up in politics than evangelism.

I’m aware that some people who will react in anger over anything they disagree with, regardless of the subject. Some of this is a conditioned response but for others it is simply the freedom to make a statement that carries very little consequence. Losing a friend is of less consequence when you have 300 more on social media. The discord is such that making new friends later is the justification for radical politicizing.

What is our Calling?

2 Corinthians 5:20 Therefore we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making His appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ: Be reconciled to God.”

We believers have a much higher calling than being politically driven, culturally aware, or politically correct.

We are called to be Jesus to the world.

What does it mean to “be Jesus”?

Jesus exemplified the fruits of the Spirit. He was agape love personified. His wisdom confounded the spiritual elite and He did not allow government to intrude upon His mission.

We have the opportunity to vote in our country, but not every culture has this freedom. We as a church are a global entity, we all share of the Spirit of God, who binds us together in unity and Love. We can petition for godly leadership but we are guaranteed nothing. I live in an extremely liberal region of my country. The entire west coast of America is quickly becoming a bastion of godlessness. It is an advantage when I’m looking for opportunity in evangelism, but in terms of leadership and policy, it is evil.

I can’t let my cultural aspirations exceed my spiritual call.

1 Corinthians 2:4-5 And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.”

The spiritual fire in me must be contained within the spectrum of God’s love for others—this reminder is one I must consider daily. If we cut off the recipient because of our approach, we sacrifice their soul for our justification.

The goal is to bring light in the dark and give sight to the blind. Reconciliation and healing is what the world needs, not our political position.

Apathy in the Church

It seems completely ridiculous that attitudes of carelessness or lack of love could be justified within the church but it is happening today. When someone knows what to do and doesn’t do it, it is for lack of genuine love for others.

1 John 4:7-8 “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”

It’s far easier to complain about the homeless than to be concerned for their salvation. It’s easier to tell someone you will pray for them than to pray with them at that moment. It’s easier to shake the head in disbelief over someone else’s self-destructive conduct than to meet with them to encourage them.

Discipleship requires self-sacrifice. The selfless commitment to someone else’s well being brings the joy of the Lord, but people don’t know this unless they practice it.

How many sermons do we need to hear, Sunday school classes do we need to attend, or prayer meetings do we need to be apart of before we start putting our faith into practice? It requires boldness to step out in faith, it requires moving past our fear and into some vulnerability when responding to a need. The people of God must be the hands and feet of Christ in this world, there is no one else who will.

When we engage the world, we may get some who don’t want to listen. There will be those who outright hate us, but there are those whose hearts have been softened by the Spirit and are ready to receive what God has prepared in you!

Philippians 4:5 “Let your gentle spirit be known to all people. The Lord is near.”

Tender but Determined

When we walk in the footsteps of Christ, we find our testimony being our strength and the Lord removing obstacles that we once thought were insurmountable.

1 Peter 3:15 “But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect”

Being a testimony in the world today requires preparation. Knowing how to share the gospel and having a plan for how to make that happen brings confidence when the opportunities present themselves.

I’ve known those who always carry some type of gospel tract or presentation with them. When you sense the Spirit’s leading, it’s good to have something to present to others as an ice breaker. Tracts also leave the listener with a reminder of what you talked about, many times the interaction can seem like a blur later on. If you have a heart for discipleship, leave your number in the tract, maybe that person will contact you later if they want to know more about the faith God has given you.

Psalm 18:35 “You have given me the shield of your salvation, and your right hand supported me, and your gentleness made me great.”

Remember how God led you to His grace. Remember that to lead others to Christ we must get past our own need for respect or justification from others and place their needs at the forefront. If we get into a shouting match with someone who offends us, we’ve placed our pride at the center of our ministry. If we respond in kindness and gentleness, regardless of how people treat us, we give opportunity for the Lord to change their hearts.

Love looks past the response and see the person for who they are now. The people we are called to minister to are either lost, broken, or living in defeat. The attitude of those who might be living in depression or some form of abuse is going to be rough around the edges, it takes a steadfast spirit to persist in love.

The Source of Love

A love for the lost is found only in Christ. If we want to be Christ to the world, we have to draw from His power and be led by His Spirit.

James 3:17 “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.”

God’s love is reasonable. Walking in the Truth of God’s Word is the pattern of peace this world longs for but doesn’t know it.

Do you want to impact others for Christ?

This is the question we have to ask ourselves in complete honesty—if we don’t, we will continue to live out our lives in study but never applying the knowledge we’ve been given.

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