Silence is not golden for Christians

By Rod Henry, Assistant Pastor

Next Step Christian Church (an SDB church in Thornton, CO)

We want to be loved by the world around us. We buy things, drive things, wear things, and especially say things to appeal to others. We smell a certain way on our hair, a different way on our face and neck, and yet a different way under our arms. A part of this is to be appealing to the people in our world. Do we care too much what our world thinks and feels about us?

I suggest that our desire to be lovable and appealing to the people in our world shapes our communication to them. And when it comes to communicating our faith in Jesus Christ, it too often produces silence. We feel we can’t be lovable to others if we are talking about Jesus. We are silent about the most important message to the world around us because we want our world to love us. Does Jesus have anything to say about being loved by the world around us?

John 15:18-19 – Jesus said, 18 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.”

In much of the world, Christians are hated and persecuted. In Western society, there has been a dramatic shift in people’s attitude toward Christians and Christianity. In the not- too-distant past, Western society based its laws and interpretation of laws on Judeo-Christian values and principles. This is rapidly changing. I personally believe that Christianity in Western society is no longer the dominant culture. Christians are more and more becoming a sub-culture in a dominant culture that believes there is no absolute truth or standards. Truth and standards are relative and personal (post modernism).

Christianity is based on the absolute truth and standards found in the Bible. Christians for the most part have become a people of silence about the truth and standards of the Bible. Christianity has become a culture of silence so that the world around us will love and accept us. When Christians do speak, we often do everything we can to make the gospel message more appealing in an attempt to be loved and accepted by our world. We somehow think that by turning down the intensity of our light the gospel will somehow become more appealing — and so will we.

Christians are the light of the world. Our lives and our speech are the most significant ways the world around us will see and hear the love of Christ. We are the salt of the world. Salt is a preservative to slow the process of decay in the world around us. Our lives and speech may be the only way in which our part of the world will hear and see the message of Salvation in Jesus Christ.

God has strategically placed us in our families, our communities, our work place, and our schools to be the light and salt in that part of our world. In fact, we may be the only light or salt in certain parts of our world. The intensity of our light and the potency of our salt must not be diminished by a concern for what others think of us. We must be loving and sensitive in sharing the gospel, but we must not be silent.

We can expect negative reactions and even hatred to being light and salt in the world. God’s mission for his people is not for us to be loved by the people around us, but to be loving to our world by “speaking the truth in love.” God’s mission is for us to speak and live in ways that people hear and see the message of God’s love for the world in sending Jesus to die on the cross. Silence is not golden for Christians.

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