Last summer, I wrote the following in my Writer’s Journal:
“I have a voice that I’m not using – because I’m too afraid. I’m relieved when others say what I wish I had the courage to say because at least someone’s saying it. But I also wish I could speak up and take a stand for what I truly feel is right in our culture.
“I fear man too much. I fear rejection and anger and ridicule – but isn’t that always what happens when someone takes a stand for the truth? People don’t like to hear the truth, especially when it’s inconvenient or offensive to them – or when they don’t want to hear all parts of the story.
“But we’re only being fed one side of the narrative right now. And it’s pretty loud and insistent that it’s right, while I’m pausing to question and be skeptical before jumping into something that I don’t really believe in.
“I want to hear all sides of the story. I want to know the truth. I want to fight for what I actually believe in, not just something the media tells me I should believe in. Man’s agenda hides a lot of lies, and I want to be careful before embracing them.
“But will I be strong enough to stand up for what I’ve discovered? Will I be willing to add my voice to truth and justice, even if many disagree? I pray for wisdom and courage.”
I have found since that time that my courage has grown somewhat, but I still struggle with many of those things. I’m naturally averse to conflict. I want people to like me. I want to be loving and show the character of Christ to those around me, and it feels like if there’s any disagreement that I’m not doing that.
But in truth Christ disagreed with a lot of people when he was on earth – that’s why they ended up killing him. And he wasn’t ultra-sensitive to people feeling uncomfortable about their sin. Because he knew that the most loving thing in the world was to rescue people from their sin and draw them to him, and that meant they needed to hear the truth.
Some things in our “culture wars” right now might be debatable about whether they’re “truth” or not. But others clearly are according to Scripture. And what our broken world needs more than anything right now is Jesus.
“Yes,” some people might argue, “we do need Jesus, not politics. So why do you want to get all involved in the political and cultural wars instead of just focusing on Jesus?”
Mostly because this cultural shift in thinking (displaying itself in our political and social realm) is turning into its own form of religion – with an original sin problem, a form of redemption along with repentance required, and a condemnation for any who won’t join it. And following it will only bring more emptiness, not the peace that people long for.
And when we seek Christ first in our lives, he transforms our thinking about all areas of life – social, moral, political, and relational. Then when we seek to build relationships with others – the people who cut our hair, the people who live next door, the people who check our groceries, the people we interact with at church and school – we demonstrate that Christ-transformed way of thinking to them. It also means that we hold unflinchingly to the truth, especially in a world that so quickly changes their ideas of the truth, based on whatever is most socially acceptable.
And that means that people will get mad at us, unfriend us, call us names, and spread lies about us. This is exactly what Jesus said would happen in Mark 13:12-13 – “And brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death. And you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.”
If we care more about being liked and “saving” relationships than holding to the truth of what God’s Word says, then we will compromise and not endure to the end. If we cave that quickly to man’s opinion, then it shows that maybe we weren’t saved to begin with.
The lies of this culture are becoming louder and louder and they are refusing to be ignored anymore. It’s becoming evident that we either need to stand up against them and lovingly and firmly hold to the truth of God’s Word or sacrifice the truth and embrace what the culture wants us to.
And as much as I might fear conflict, I fear even more losing my soul to the lies of darkness. So I take this trembling step of courage forward, knowing that the God of all truth will sustain me and give me the words to say to keep spreading his light. And maybe as I do, it might give you the courage to do the same. I’m praying that we might all strengthen one another as believers, because the days ahead will most likely only get darker, rather than lighter.
But praise the Lord because as John 1:5 reminds us, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
We’ve seen the end of the story. And it is glorious in its victory over darkness.
Let’s fix our eyes on our Savior, boldly step out in faith for Him, and trust Him to lead us forward on every part of this journey.
Photo by Sammie Chaffin on Unsplash.