“Firing the Canon Straight”
As Christians, our standard is the Canon of Scripture, the “measuring rod” of our faith; otherwise known as the Bible. It is the Bible that directs and dictates who we are, how we live, and how we point others to life. But sadly, and often we tend to think, at least per our actions, that we have a better way of accomplishing this. This is sometimes seen in the way we strive to reach the culture with the gospel. Sadly, there are times when we strive to win the world with our winsomeness instead of truth; slowly, yet systematically accepting things that are contrary to the “measuring rod”. This never works…never.
Truth never drifts nor shifts.
Like weeds in a garden, the incessant drift in and towards cultural deprivation is a constant battle. This is truth, the culture ALWAYS drifts farther and farther, deeper, and deeper into who and what they are (Jer. 17:9). The human nature NEVER drifts towards God, but always away. They live in a 1 John 2:16 state, “For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world.” It’s not only how they think, but who they are. Outside of Christ this is all of humanity. We must understand this and know how to respond well.
If you were to study the paradigm shifts in America since its inception you would most likely be shocked. What was considered by all to be blatantly wrong decades ago is not only accepted in the contemporary culture but celebrated. Actually, it’s gone beyond accepted and celebrated; now it’s mandated.
But hear this true statement… truth neither drifts nor shifts.
We know this is true. We know it, whether we come to terms with it or not, whether we accept it or not. The truth that truth is true and unchanging is not dependent on your acceptance of it. Regardless of how the culture contends, counters, or caterwauls, truth will not and cannot change. It is what it is.
Typically, Christians adhere to this fact theologically and literally; but often we don’t adhere to it practically. We’ll proclaim it from our pulpits but pass it by when it we intersect with it in life. This is an exercise in futility. Acting in situations as if truth is pliable, in order to “win” people is like a diabetic living on sugar cubes. In all actuality he’s dying on sugar cubes. It’s a recipe for death. We must not only acknowledge that truth is not relative, but we must live like it.
Compassion or pride?
Why, at times, do we treat truth as if it’s relative? We often claim it’s manifested compassion, but I can’t help but think it’s a pride issue. The natural inclination of depraved human flesh is to be liked, even adored by the masses. So, often, even when we know that truth is truth and will not change, because of our desire to be liked, we will side step truth, ever so slightly at first, to be seen as kind, understanding, compassionate, and even virtuous. But kindness minus truth is not kindness at all. When our desire to be liked and accepted is demonstrated in a truthless kindness, it’s nothing short of pride. Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me…” How can we ignore this “truth”?!? If we are genuinely compassionate towards people, and we long for their salvation, we will compassionately give them truth. If we are truly “kind” to people, we will kindly give them “truth”. The apostle Paul told the church at Ephesus, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you (Eph. 4:32). Kindness derives from and is centered in Christ. There is no kindness without Jesus. Any other supposed compassion and kindness is misguided.
The most compassionate and kind thing to do for people is to point them to truth…point them to Jesus. We must not be kind merely for the sake of people liking us. But we must also keep in mind that pointing people to truth/Jesus may cause us to be criticized, reprimanded, and even shunned by many. We may have to make that choice… But what happens if we don’t?
Misguided compassion always bites the hand that feeds it.
Know this… displaying misguided “compassion” and “Kindness” to people without truth will ALWAYS come back to bite you! The culture will love you as long as you are on their sled to Hell, but the moment you put the brakes on to any degree, they will turn on you. As long as you give them leeway in their sin they will tolerate you; as long as you let them live in the alternate reality of “their truth” you will be “liked”. But when you don’t the toleration ceases. This always happens. This is true in the Christian’s individual life, the local church, and any Christian denomination/convention. Winsomeness will never truly win some. Sure, you should be winsome; a winsomeness that grows out of genuine, Christ-centered compassion and kindness, but it must always and ultimately point them to Jesus.
As believers in Christ, living in a Christless culture, we should remember and practice these things:
- A Christian will be persecuted. John 15:18-20
- Only the kindness of Christ will genuinely change people. John 14:6
- Your reward is in heaven, not here. Matthew 25:21
- Look to Jesus, point to Jesus!
Popularity has slain more prophets of God than persecution ever did.