This pastoral passage was first written for LRBC on July 5 2015. It highlights the difficult position many Christians find themselves in – wanting to hold their line on morality without being a voice of condemnation to those who differ. Our message as representatives of Christ is an invitation to reconciliation with God – a difficult message in modern society, yet one that is made in good will.
There was once a time when Christians were generally regarded as good, upstanding citizens. Now we are increasingly viewed as immoral. The recent decision by the US supreme court to legalize gay marriage has highlighted the growing rift between Christianity and western culture. At one level not much has changed because of the supreme court decision, but at another, it may be remembered as a watershed in the history of western Christianity.
The challenge we will face more and more is that of living in this world while refusing to silently conform to it. We still hold that sin is sin, and this will put us at odds with people who believe that some sin isn’t sin after all. It will be important to support those who find themselves taking the heat first. Some people’s jobs will put them in the firing line. Parents are in the awkward position of having to differ on yet another point with their children’s school (will our children end up the site of a cultural proxy war?). Difficult and complicated choices may not be far off.
We need to accept that faithfulness to Jesus means we may give people reason to despise us. We may find ourselves regarded as “the scum of the earth, the refuse of all things” (1Cor 4:13). If this is the cost of Christian discipleship, will you pay it? I hope you can concur with these words: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68). If not you might as well turn back now. What will you decide?