In today’s world of social media, personal branding has become ‘important’. Many people are concerned about how they are perceived and how others define them. Facebook statuses, categories and posts are often crafted to create a certain opinion of how we want to be known. However…
How we define ourselves is less important than how we know ourselves to be.
How others define us is less important than how they know us to be.
Or to put it another way, our stated position or label or belief system is far less important than our clear actions. True definition is demonstrated by behavior.
We can be against gay marriage, but are we for godly marriage? We may be against child abuse, but are we for justice? We may be against shallow doctrine, but are we for personal holiness?
It is hard for the church to be critical of worldly perversions and ungodly worldviews when our institutions and families are falling apart. The world will often charge us with hypocrisy. They will say, how can you speak of morality when the church has such a bad reputation?
The charge of ‘hypocrisy’ is a powerful one and sadly often correct. I suspect our guilt over our hypocrisy is one of the reasons we are silent on topical issues of morality.
It seems like there is daily public debate on the morals of entertainment, lifestyles, politics, etc etc. Public opinion is often sought in news article comments or via twitter feeds published on TV etc. However, when a Christian speaks up, there is usually a barrage of criticism attacking the integrity and hypocrisy of Christians and churches.
However, the incorrect response is for us to conclude, “Well we are sinners, so we are not in the position to speak up about sin”. or “Christians have been guilty of hypocrisy, so no Christian should ever have a public voice”.
No, we are the Salt of the World. If the Salt has lost is savour, it is not any good. To be silent because of the fear of being called hypocritical is not the right response. But Salt that has savour is powerful. And that power is only experienced if it is used. Therefore, we must stand and speak for truth, but we should do that in the following two ways – Godly and Gracefully.
1. Be Known as Godly
If we suffer for doing wrong, then we deserve the persecution and we should be fearful. (Romans 13:4) Yes, there are Christians that are well known sinners and hypocrites and there should be judgement for that. We should acknowledge this. However, Christians must be more that those who don’t do wrong and avoid judgement. We must live godly lives that are known for their godliness amongst the heathen. Jesus did not die just to save us from sin. He died to save us to righteousness. Righteousness is more than the absence of sin. It is the presence of the Spirit and the Fruit He produces. When the Fruit of the Spirit is evident it will be known to the world – whether they acknowledge it or not.
2. Speak gracefully
The way we approach speaking with the world is important. We should acknowledge that we are not speaking because our opinion or view is better than anyone else’s. We are speaking because God has shown us grace, forgiveness. While our manner or speaking with people may or may not change their response, our manner of speaking should always reflect our humility of the fact that we only know righteousness because God has revealed it.
Even if we are known for our godly fruit and words that are graceful, this does not mean that the world will love us.
They may still misrepresent us and demonise us, but they will be ashamed as they do so. So my fellow followers of Jesus, press on with courage, live well, speak boldly in Christ. Take heart not in the opinions of others, but in your value and definition in Christ.