I have a sweet friend that told me once “conversations tend to be either deep or wide, but mostly wide.” Have you ever been in a conversation with someone where you catch yourself smiling, nodding, and selectively choosing not to disagree or contradict anything being said? That’s what my friend means when she says “wide”, when what is being said stays on the surface and safely goes no deeper.
Now more than ever people are becoming quite adapt at staying on the surface. It is far better, we think, and makes us appear to be more diplomatic, accepting, and non-offensive, and nothing gets messy or time consuming. Social media and targeted messages of 140 characters or less lend towards this. We are told it is not our place to judge but to listen, or that perhaps we think this is not the right time, right place to get deep. Coupled with the political correctness (PC) goal of inclusion and diversity, and finding one’s self on the broad road where individuality is blurred and no one dares to stand for Christ becomes all too common.
We justify this as well through peer pressure, which drives us to conclude a God of love is a God who accepts everyone and everything, regardless. After all, a loving God is contrary to a judgmental God, right? Judging someone’s lifestyle or actions has come to mean that you are prejudiced, full of hate, and do not have the ability to tolerate others.
The truth is there is an unspoken rule being applied that diversity is all inclusive, except when it comes to Christianity. The same people who would judge the Christian for intolerance of other lifestyles are the same ones unable to tolerate those who choose to be Christian. If you think about it, this “hyper-tolerant” culture is really the ultimate deception, as it leaves the individual who has succumbed to cultural drive or government dependence open to any and all manipulation, not caring if they self-destruct due to a lack of moral compass. BLM is a good example of this, and we only have to look at what happened in Chicago over Christmas weekend to understand this.
Those who refuse to blindly accept what media regurgitates and instead begin to think and research for themselves often come to a realization that, in their choice to walk the broad road, they become enablers to a broken society. For me personally, this began to sink in one day a little over a year ago when there came a note from a cousin asking for my address so that he could send me a wedding invitation. The state of Texas had recently legalized gay marriage, and after 32 years, he and his partner were going to take advantage of it.
I thought long and hard before responding. It is not that I don’t love my cousin. It’s not even that I condemn or wish him and his partner ill instead of happiness. It was a personal belief I held far deeper and could not betray. A belief that forced me to make a conscious decision to exit the broad road and stand for Christ. This brought much soul searching on my behalf because I love my cousin and the last thing I want to do is hurt him. I cringed to think my actions may be interpreted by him as rejection, hate, improper judgment, and hypocrisy.
The personal belief I held was the truth that, as a Christian I am an ambassador of Christ, and as His ambassador I seek the highest form of love for my cousin, which is intimacy and oneness with Christ Himself. Knowing that his choices worked against this and not towards it is what made his union something I could not approve of. The love I speak of is something I desire for everyone. As I continue to experience it for myself, I have a deeper understanding that the only way the life we all long for can be unleashed is through Christ. So when I see someone caught up in a situation that prevents them from fully knowing this, I am compelled to speak out, not against them personally but, against the obstacle standing in their way.
Remember the comic of the little girl and little boy that was titled “Love is…”, and each new day would caption what love was?
We have lost the sense of what love is these days. There is no longer a basic understanding of genuine love, although that doesn’t stop people from forming their own idea about it. A popular term today is “unconditional” love, and is often defined as a form of love that accepts all things, including one another’s lifestyles, choices, and actions, without question or expectation – even to the point where those actions were harmful to themselves and possibly to others. Genuine God love, on the other hand, is not so much a matter of emotion as it is of doing things for the benefit of another person, having an unselfish concern for another and a willingness to seek the best for them.
Genuine love compels you to speak truth. It gives you the ability to see from God’s perspective rather than numbly agreeing with blatant error for the sake of giving a person a false sense of security rather than risking they will feel rejected. As Christians, our ability to accurately judge and thereby speak truth without condemnation so that the person in front of us has a clear vision of Jesus is critical, as it may be the only way a person can fully understand that what they hold on to so tightly pales in comparison.
Political correctness teaches that moral conviction offends and has no place, but genuine love does not guarantee a lack of offense. If you befriend a person who is downtrodden, beaten, fearful, tattered, without direction and without hope, would love tell you to leave them where they are? No! It would compel you to take action towards their benefit and safety.
Out of fear we avoid this kind of loving judgment because in a world that has removed absolute truth and offers only shades of gray, it is often turned against us. Lines of sin have been systematically blurred and erased for the purpose of soothing the conscience. When sin is not easily recognized, more and more people are no longer able to clearly judge when a person is destitute, without hope, and utterly lost.
Those who are honest understand that a child with no set boundaries and no discipline grows up confused, unstable, insecure, having no sense of reality, drive, or purpose, and is uncertain how to properly relate to others in this world. The truth is, a world without boundaries is a very dangerous place to live. Genuine love sets boundaries not to condemn, but to point the way.
Let the genuine love of God be internally motivated and defined by the Holy Spirit, rather than externally motivated and defined by culture. Not how things are seen from the world’s perspective, but how absolute truth impacts, because sometimes what we perceive as happiness turns out to be the gaping pits of hell. The Christian caught up in these lies is at risk of losing the more excellent prize of intimacy with Christ, where true happiness and contentment reside. For someone who is not a Christian, they are risking the point where they sear their conscience beyond the ability to feel the presence of God or hear His voice calling them out of darkness and into light. Speaking truth into the darkness may be their only chance.
Scriptures for a deeper study:
You hypocrites! You know how to analyze the appearance of the earth and sky, but why do you not analyze this present time? And why do you not even on your own initiative judge what is right?
Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgement.
I Corinthians 6:2
Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? If the world is judged by you, are you not competent to constitute the smallest law courts?
For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
And pray for me, that words may be given to me when I open my mouth, to proclaim boldly the mystery of the good news of salvation, for which I am an ambassador in chains. And pray that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly and courageously, as I should.
2 Corinthians 5:20
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
2 Timothy 4:3 (NASB)
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires
I Corinthians 1:18-25
For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the cleverness of the clever I will set aside.”
Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
1 Corinthians 2:6-16
Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away; but we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory; the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory; but just as it is written, “Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, And which have not entered the heart of man, All that God has prepared for those who love Him.”
For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.
But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one. For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he will instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ.
But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; 11in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.