““For my thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not my ways.” This is the Lord’s declaration. “For as heaven is higher than earth, so my ways are higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9 CSB
You don’t have to look far to know that our culture and society is fast moving further in the direction of post-Christian influence. Regardless of the values that our nation was established upon and the position that the Church held in our society decades and even centuries ago, we cannot dispute that the Church no longer holds the influence that it used to. Younger generations today are entering into the world and growing up so much more disconnected from the Church than we probably ever possibly imagined. The Church of born again believers still maintains a presence in our society, but thoughts and perspectives that have no desire to honor God are very much on the rise and spreading like wildfire.
The Church now finds itself in the place of having to deal with these views and offer counter-perspectives with the goal of truly emulating the love of Christ in sometimes hostile situations. We try to stay out in front of a lot of these issues with our students and be as transparent as possible when having sometime difficult conversations, and these young people are concerned about how they should respond as they desire to honor Christ with their decisions, words and actions (I am SO proud of these guys and gals!). We’ve had multiple conversations about Biblical views of homosexuality—some in our large group and some via individual text convos—amidst its prevailing presence in the world today. We’ve seen the topic of abortion covered all over social media quite a bit lately, and just this week we had a brief off-shoot conversation during Awaken about the legislation surrounding abortion. Tough conversations, but I think it’s a good thing that our students are asking the questions. In all cases, the conversations are very necessary.
In all of the details that we can get into with these issues, whether it’s students asking questions during Youth group or debates taking place related to them, there are four key things that we as followers of Jesus should keep in focus:
1. God knows what He’s doing. His ways are higher than our own (reread the passage above), and we need to acknowledge that in our own perspectives. No matter what we think, His way is better.
2. No matter what conversations we have with those with whom we disagree, and no matter what they may ask about what the Bible says about their views or lifestyle, point them to Jesus first. We have to make clear why Jesus is worth following to us. It won’t happen right way, but eventually they’ll take their question to Jesus themselves, and hopefully they’ll “get it” about point #1.
3. No matter what happens, we have to love people. We may stand firm to defend the lives of the unborn, but we have to be able to walk with a young lady after the abortion happens too and love her with Christ’s love. We may hold firmly to the truth that God instituted the covenant of marriage, but we have to be able to genuinely show the love of Christ to those who want it redefined to include their sexual orientation.
4. No matter how you feel about an issue, you have to ask yourself, “Am I willing to submit to the authority of Christ on the matter?” This could be anything. No matter what your perspective may be, if you arrive at the place that it contradicts that of God’s character, that you indeed are not on the right side of things, will you submit to His authority in the matter?
We must acknowledge that He is greater than we are. We must make a big deal of Jesus to others. We must love as Christ loved. And we must be willing to submit to His Lordship.
At the end of the day, will you?