DayBreaks for 9/05/19: Imposing and Proposing
NOTE: Galen is on vacation for the next couple weeks and may not respond to any comments until he returns on 9/9/19.
From the DayBreaks archive, September 2009:
I don’t think that there are many who would disagree that our culture has become very contentious. It is clear in how the opposite sides of the political spectrum have labeled their opponents in the last election and in the current health care debate. What has happened that Americans are now calling others “idiots”, “racists”, or insinuating that they are Nazi’s or worse because they don’t agree with the position and thinking of their opponents. What has happened to civilized discourse, where women and men of conviction could respectfully and honestly disagree with one another without resorting to name-calling? Have we become so immature as this would suggest?
It isn’t just happening in the political world, either. It happens to Christians – and sadly, sometimes Christians are not just the recipients, but the dispensers of such vitriol as well. The balance of the world looks at Christians and labels us: ignorant, superstitious, old-fashioned, stupid, duped and the like. Reminds me of Jesus’ words to us telling us to expect persecution because the persecuted him and the prophets before him. And, he elsewhere told us that we’re blessed if we are persecuted for His name’s sake.
But is that persecution always without cause? One of the most common complaints about Christians is that “You’re always trying to impose you views, beliefs and values on others!” I fear that in some cases, that may be an honest and accurate description of how some Christians go about trying to Christianize the world. And, I don’t believe, that’s Jesus’ model for evangelism. Are we to share the gospel, and the Biblical worldview with others? Absolutely! It is not called the “Great Commission” for no good reason! It is one, if not our greatest calling in this lifetime, to love others so much that we’d share truth with them about how they can be saved. But that’s different than imposing one’s views.
Consider: how would you feel if you lived in a fundamentalist Islamic country, or in India where Hinduism is so strong, and you lived under a government that imposed those beliefs upon you as a Christian? Simply put: we can’t impose our beliefs on others. People must come to Christ freely – not by imposition nor by sword.
So, what are we to do? We are to propose a better way, not try to impose our viewpoint. Jesus didn’t impose His view on the Pharisee or the apostle – He simply invited people to come and follow him and see if his way wasn’t better than what they had known all their lives. In short, he proposed a better way. We are to invite them to the marriage feast of the Lamb…not to put them in straight-jackets, truss them up like prisoners and force them to come. It is “whosoever WILL…” that can come, not “whosoever is forced to come” that will find life.
As Rick Warren put it, as Christians (especially in our sharply divided culture in America today), we tend to see others as the enemy rather than as the mission field. People are not our enemy – falsehood and Satan are the enemy. People are simply lost…or found. Let us be about the business of proposing a better solution. We have nothing to fear from the honest exchange of ideas, for truth, handled rightly, will be seen for what it is.
PRAYER: Examine our hearts, Father, and reveal to us the attitude we have towards those who are not members of Your family. Teach us to propose the truth and not to impose. May Your Spirit give wings to the truth that we share! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright by 2019 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>