Why enter the fray? Many Christians would rather not argue about anything. Look at all the divisions in the church. Look at all the infighting. Jesus didn’t say that we would be known for our denominations. He said we’d be known for our love for one another. Great witness, modern church, way to go.
And of course there’s some truth to this complaint. Churches dividing over trifles is a bad witness. A church blowing up over the color of the carpet in the foyer is a bad witness, but the problem is that churches don’t blow up over the color of the carpet in the foyer, no matter what anyone says. That may be the reason they gave the newspaper reporter, what went in the minutes, what was posted on facebook, but that’s a lie. Churches divide over trivial matters because there are serious problems raging under the surface. The color of the carpet was just the easiest, and ironically, least embarrassing place to throw down. The faithful will refuse to argue about the color of the carpet. People who love Jesus will refuse to strangle gnats because Jesus said not to. And because their hearts are so gripped by the grace of God, such penny pinching is laughable. But Pharisees are professional gnat stranglers. Pharisees walk around with magnifying glasses and microscopes strapped to their heads and furrowed brows, and it’s no wonder they leave a trail of broken pieces and people in their wake. And when anyone points out the damage they’re doing, it’s going to get grim.
But Jesus declared war on Pharisees, and anyone who wants to follow Jesus needs to get used to this war. It ain’t sexy; it ain’t cool. But Jesus didn’t promise that. If you’re looking for glamour go try another religion. Jesus said if you follow Him, you’re signing up for the messiness of fighting sin and hypocrisy in all its forms. And one of the things this means is that you will get accused of being belligerent. You will get accused of trolling. And then you’ll get accused of fighting over semantics. You’ll get accused of fighting over stupid stuff. Yeah, well, bring it.
The great thing is that ultimately it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks if Jesus is pleased with you. If God sends the blessing, then we don’t need the blessing of anybody. At the same time, we must be people of compassion and sympathy for real victims, people who are really hurting. But one of the ways we show compassion for them is by fighting the people who are either inflicting the wounds or healing the wounds lightly. If you knew that some doctors were prescribing medicine for a disease that covered up some of the more obvious symptoms but didn’t actually bring healing and maybe even made things worse, wouldn’t you say something? So in the name of equality, in the name of the hurting, in the name of the poor many perpetrate great evils. And people who really care about them should be willing to put their reputations on the line, willing to put their careers on the line, willing to get slurred and slandered and lied about. Because you’ll totally get made to look like you’re blowing up the Red Cross bus. But Jesus said something about that somewhere.
So this is a call to enter the fray wherever God has placed you. Where can you speak the truth? Do you need to tell your daughter that she’s dressing immodestly? Do you need to tell your son that he’s listening to crap on the radio? Do you need to tell your boss that you won’t fudge the numbers because that’s lying and stealing? But here’s the deal, don’t get wound up about the song on the radio. The point isn’t fundamentally that you’re a nice Christian girl trying to look like a tramp (though that’s a problem too). The point is your heart. The point is Jesus. The point is forgiveness and freedom and grace. Of course, check your heart, pray about it, be open to correction. The point of confronting sin, the point of hurling grenades isn’t to make other people look bad. The point isn’t to come out on top. The point is love. The point is that we love Jesus, we love His people, and we love those suffering under the weight of oppression, injustice, and sin. We don’t throw down because we’re bored or because we get some kind of sick satisfaction in the mess for it’s own sake. We throw down because we’re willing to die for others, we’re willing to suffer injustice for others, we’re willing to take up our cross and follow Jesus.