DayBreaks for 8/21/15: Our Birthmark
From the DayBreaks archive, 2005:
I have some very dear friends who are very interested in “activism.” What do I mean by that? I mean that they’re engaging our culture in as many different ways as possible to try to bring more of the Light to bear on the world’s darkness. They engage in debates, letter-writing campaigns, lobbying efforts, make phone calls to talk radio hosts and some even have run or consider running for public office. Don’t get me wrong, my hat is off to them. I think that what they’re doing is good – they’re at least trying to be the salt and light that we are all called to be. Some folks are called to be more activist than others. Some are more given to acts of service (like Mother Theresa) than political wrangling. God needs people of all kinds, shapes and sizes to do what He wants done.
Still, there’s a part of me that thinks we need to be cautious in our activism. The things we usually become activists about are the things that anger and frustrate us. And anger is not a very good motivation when it comes to doing the Lord’s work. At least not if the anger is something other than righteous indignation. If our anger is directed towards the person and not their actions, we may be missing the boat and working out of ungodly motivations.
Wouldn’t it be true that if our activism, no matter how well-intentioned it is, drives the possibility of love out of the heart of those towards whom my activism is directed, then I am not a proper representative of the gospel of Christ? If my attitudes produce frustration that blocks their way to the cross, I must not be spreading grace, but rather demanding adherence to law.
It is true that a culture war is inevitable and must be fought. I am convinced that such is, indeed, the case. We can’t just let it go by without even raising Godly concerns and truth to the forefront. But we shouldn’t use the same weapons that the enemy uses. We should use the weapons of the Spirit, being armed with grace at all times.
When you stop to think about it, when we were born into the family of God, our birthmark changed from anything that characterizes the world to become something that characterizes the kingdom of God. We should have but one birthmark: not political correctness, legal or moral superiority, but love. No matter how much we might achieve without love, Paul reminds us that it is of no value. 1 Cor. 13:1-3: If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
The next time we’re tempted to react hotly to something in our culture, let’s be sure our birthmark shows.
PRAYER: Let us never betray our Father! Lord, help us clearly demonstrate Who our Father is! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple. To email Galen, click here: E-mail Galen.