Yesterday on my personal Facebook page, I shared an article that reported results of a survey, claiming that secular parents were raising their children just as good, and actually better, than Christian parents. Secular parents do a better job, the survey concluded, because their kids have “rational problem solving, personal autonomy, independence of thought, avoidance of corporal punishment, a spirit of ‘questioning everything’ and, far above, empathy.” As a result, these kids will have better morals since “morality comes not from a book or a guy up in the sky, but from the idea that how you treat people matters, because how people feel matters.”
As a Christian, this upsets me. I witness how the morals of this country are actually declining because of this secular thinking. I realize how certain groups, representing just a small minority, are forcefully pushing their own secular agendas forward, regardless of how the majority of other Americans feel about it. I see how these same groups are grabbing the attention of politicians who then feel that they have to “give in” to this minority just to be politically correct. I certainly do not perceive that people are being treated any better, nor are they given any more empathy, than before.
Even more frustrating is that Christians are becoming the target. We are continually being scolded and reprimanded for believing what we believe. When we stand up for what is right, we are bashed and smeared for being insensitive and fanatical. When we fail, we are ridiculed and condemned as hypocrites.
Does it upset you too?
How we should respond to what is going on in the world today can be confusing. An answer for me came while doing my bible study. It was I Peter 4:12-16, a message from God to help me with my anger and frustrations:
Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through,
as if something strange were happening to you.
Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering,
so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.
If you are insulted because you bear the name of Christ, you will be blessed,
for the glorious Spirit of God rests upon you. If you suffer, however,
it must not be for murder, stealing, making trouble, or prying into other people’s affairs.
But it is no shame to suffer for being a Christian.
Praise God for the privilege of being called by his name! (NLT)
In this passage, the Apostle Peter encourages us to keep showing Jesus to the world and not be surprised when we are insulted or reproached. In fact, we should be excited that we “are in the very thick of what Christ experienced” (MSG) and see it as a “spiritual refining process.” (MSG). Don’t worry though, there is victory in the end — God’s glory IS going to be revealed!
Peter continues by saying that being called a Christian is to be seen as a compliment! Why? Because of how you are living for God, you were “brought to the notice of others.” (MSG) This was powerful to believers at that time because the term “Christian” was actually a derogatory name given to those who were following “The Way.” This name should be just as powerful to us today!
After digesting this passage, I do not take this to mean that we should not stand for the right, but we should not be judgmental when we do. After all, if others do not have Jesus, they don’t get that what they are doing is even wrong. This also doesn’t mean that we should seclude ourselves from the world because Jesus hung out with sinners so he could show His love and reveal His truth.
What does it mean? That we should not be frustrated but encouraged. Not to feel condemned, but to feel worthy. Not to consider ourselves outcasts but as His chosen.
That we should continue to live up to the word by which we are called: Christian. Followers of Christ. Consider it a privilege to be called by His name.
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