Do you ever feel like the opportunity for Christian witness is closing down—like the doors that might have been cracked open are slamming shut, as we try to find ways to spread the message of Christ with people we know? Check out this “boldness and clarity” from Rosaria Butterfield:
In this post-Christian world, our theology is on display in everything that we do and say. Take, for example, the attic door that was swinging from a broken hinge at the Butterfield house on Wednesday, November 9, 2016, and Phil, the neighborhood handyman who came to fix it. When Phil answered my call to take a small job, I welcomed him in, pointed out the attic door, made sure that he knew the coffee in the pot was his to finish, and then returned to homeschool my children.
But then I heard it. Someone was crying.
Phil was in tears. He had finished the job, and was sitting in my kitchen, head buried in calloused hands, sobbing. I asked why and it all tumbled out: Christians are dangerous people, and this past election proved it. How could we move forward as friends if we don’t agree on basic values? How could I believe the things I do?
In order to live with boldness and clarity as a light to the world, we have to love our neighbor sacrificially and live our lives with gospel transparency. We must risk loving our neighbors well enough that they know where God stands in our sin and our suffering. Our neighbors need to know who we really are and who we serve.
Not so that we can agree to disagree.
But so that we can disagree and still eat dinner together, at the end of the meal opening God’s Word and discussing what we find therein. We need to be transparent in sharing the Scriptures, which God has ordained to speak to His people. It is in these places—these uncomfortable, honest, awkward places of seeing the image of God in each other across the wide divides—that the gospel could travel with integrity, if we took greater risks than we do. Because in order to reflect God’s image in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness, we need to do more than smile and nod.
In our post-Christian world, our words cannot be stronger than our relationships. This means that we prepare for the hard work of building strong relationships and the clear dangers of speaking gospel truth. We lean into conflict. And we aren’t overly sensitive about what people say to or about us. We proclaim Christ crucified, and we take every opportunity to do so. This is what it means to offer our post-Christian world authentic and bold Christian truth.