Kingdom values have helped bring radical transformation in society precisely when Christians understood their calling to be salt and light in the public square.
So often, we’re believers who hide under the bed or under a rug, whose main desire is to remain unnoticed so that nobody condemns us to such an extent that we’re unable to deal with it.
One of the most common mistakes that we make as Christians today is to fail to understand that we don’t belong in the world in which we live. It’s surprising to consider how we constantly use our energy to show others that we’re one of the crowd, trying to avoid and wholeheartedly reject the image of being “weird” that has been imposed upon us.
Because, when all’s said and done, who likes to be called weird? In a time when nearly everyone who doesn’t follow the crowd is labelled a “freak”, the new tolerance has brought some of the the most intolerant of people from out of the woodwork. They fight many poilitical battles that are of no importance because our citizenship is not here, but elsewhere. I think we’ve lost sight of what’s essential: that we’re just passing through and have to choose our battles well. That distinction is of vital importance, particularly for those on the outside. It’s the distinction between those who are called to be salt and light and those that we are called to be Christ’s light to.
This is a world of darkness. The one who governs the streets, the town centres and the hearts of a good part of the planet, seeks to generate thick smoke screens that distract, the non-believers, but even more so the believers, from our main Christian purpose.
And it’s so easy to distract us! So often, we’re believers who hide under the bed or under a rug, whose main desire is to remain unnoticed so that nobody condemns us to such an extent that we’re unable to deal with it. Because we’re often not used to giving a clear and concise defense of our faith, but instead we often find ourselves apologising time and time again for believing in the God that we believe in. In that moment, we’ve certainly lost our way because we’ve become more concerned about our happiness and how we’re perceived by others, than about the lost around us.
We may be convinced that it’s possible to be a Christan and not be “weird”, yet we’re far away from the gospel that would have saved them for eternity. This world does not belong to us.
We, who don’t belong to this world, have been kept here and not lifted up to the highest heaven with a clear purpose, such as which would leave no doubt in the Scriptures. In this we can’t even argue about differences or about misunderstood doctrines.
We are called to shine, but that’s not done by remaining unnoticed, however good we may feel not to have everyone’s eyes, opinions, criticisms and reproaches focussed on us. I believe that we’ve mistaken the race, and in the most obvious way possible: forgetting that the Teacher Himself warned us that in this world we would have affliction and that things wouldn’t be easy.
Please understand that I’m not saying that we have to be eccentric in the way which we shine, because far from bringing people to the gospel, that makes them doubt its ability to restore, heal and guide in a balanced way.
When I see certain things, in all honesty, I’m tempted to question it myself, although I rapidly reach the conclusion that the gospel is not to blame for the strange way that we sometimes understand it. In that sense I have to say that I’m overwhelmed by sadness when I find myself in certain situations. The last such situation was a few weeks ago and included a person almost knocking into everything that crossed their path, since they were reading the Bible out loud in the middle of the street, as if it were a manifesto, without looking at where they were going.
To be honest, I find it hard to acknowledge that I’m a Christian when they try to associate me with such things. However, such things are often fanatical and not infrequently may even be due to mental health problems. Such things aside, I firmly believe that if we are seeking for nobody to notice a difference between those on the outside and those on the inside, then we’re achieving that.
It’s a pity that the great commission isn’t a camouflage mission. In this time when the new war crimes are being committed against Christians, when so many are being mascaraed for siding with the gospel, and even more so, with the Lord of the gospel, perhaps us Christians in the West are called to let go of our comfort and of our elaborate masks of discretion in exchange for the true testimony that Christ changes lives and that same Christ, changes the world. We should not hide, but rather show a strange cross as our flag and an open tomb as a reminder of the great promise, the fulfilment of which we look forward to expectantly.