When we choose to follow Jesus, really follow Him, we put ourselves on a collision course with the culture. Christian faith and current culture are like oil and water. They don’t blend well. When things like #SCOTUS happen or when #POTUS gets executive orders the Christian community gets real fired up. My friend Andy Harrison stated (tongue in cheek, of course) the following usually happens:
- Culture proves itself Godless via political or societal event.
- Frustrated Christians begin the airing of grievances.
- Calculated Christians drop by Bible Gateway and cut and paste something from Deuteronomy or anything written by Paul that sounds angry.
- The Christian Correction Crew start posting, telling all other Christians to shut up, love people and go plant a tree.
- Intellectual Christians post a quote by an unknown philosopher that has deep meaning for people who like “How He Loves.”
- Sensible Christians hit the power button and go to dinner with their families.
How are we supposed to handle the collision of faith and culture? How should those who are followers of Christ respond?
27Later, as Jesus left the town, he saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at his tax collector’s booth. “Follow me and be my disciple,” Jesus said to him. 28So Levi got up, left everything, and followed him.
29Later, Levi held a banquet in his home with Jesus as the guest of honor. Many of Levi’s fellow tax collectors and other guests also ate with them. 30But the Pharisees and their teachers of religious law complained bitterly to Jesus’ disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with such scum?”
31Jesus answered them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. 32I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners and need to repent.”
When your faith and culture collide remember this,
It is not a time to run away from culture but to run to the culture. Matthew (Levi) chose to follow Jesus and later held a party for friends to meet Jesus. How novel! Instead of retreating into a religious subculture, Matthew made sure that the culture he knew would at least meet Jesus. In 1608, the Puritans separated to Holland because they couldn’t deal with the issues. In 1620, they made their way to America. 400 years later we face the same problem. Will we run away or run to those who need Jesus?
Church leader, it is not time to debate doctrinal statements but weep over the deadness spiritually. When we choose to follow Jesus and call others to do be sure that it is not a time to learn religious lingo but to love the lost with the Gospel. Matthew desired to bring everyone together. He recognized that while he needed to learn more about Jesus his friends needed Jesus too.
It is not a time to burn bridges but to build them. When we begin to spew hatred and angst we are not reflecting Jesus. Matthew did not cut ties with his friends. He leveraged those relationships and influence for the power of the Gospel. We follow Jesus, not a religion. Too often when people come into a church fold they lose touch and sight of the lostness of their friends. They no longer have time for them and are ostracized by church leaders if they do. How will the lost hear if we cut ties and run? How will they hear unless someone tells them? How precious are those who take the gospel to those around them.
It is not a time to judge others by the law (church and tradition) but to love others with the Gospel. The Pharisees pronounced judgement on these people as “scum”. I have heard no less of a treatment of political leadership, justices, and humanity that disagrees. We are called to make disciples of the world. We get nowhere by anger, hate, and judgement. The gospel changes people. Jesus died so that you might be free and help others find that freedom. Let us not chain them up.
Everything we do is a part of being a witness: job, home, social media, the way u dress, messing around, romance, your speech, it all matters. We do not get to pick and choose when we are a witness. We don’t clock in. You are a witness.
Will you follow Jesus?