The Wrong Questions
Posted on December 10, 2013
As a public relations and marketing professional I represent a variety of clients. If questions arise about their products and services I am expected to have the correct answer; answers that steer consumers to invest in my clients. It is my depth of knowledge which instills trust in the general public, drawing them closer to building confidence in my clients’ capabilities. Because this comes with the territory of my profession I’m mostly ready with an answer for any and every question to come my way.
What I didn’t realize is when I began walking with Christ I would be met with the same expectation of my faith. As I’ve matured in my walk, I’ve found myself in the midst of theological debates (something I vowed never to do) and at the front of a firing squad of questions on everything from gay rights to abortion:
“How do you feel about abortion: are you pro-life or pro-choice?”
“Do you drink?”
“What’s your stance on the death penalty?”
“Do you support gay marriage?”
Until recently I entertained these questions; quoting scriptures and doing my best to act as God’s PR representative (never a good idea). Then, in my last theological debate I felt a deep sense of conviction after listening to a contention that the bible is used to instill fear.
Sadly, this has–in so many cases–been true. We’re all familiar with the stories of the bible being used to justify everything from slavery to abusive marriages. And if we’re honest the modern-day Church (the body of believers) has done little to repair the damage. Instead, we’ve watered down the Gospel to a set of rules and regulations, browbeating those who haven’t chosen to accept Jesus and imposing our beliefs as right and everything else as wrong. We’ve drawn a line in the sand. As a result, the world looks at the Church with questions. And those question, with a lack of sufficient answers, lead to a tension between the Church and the world.
But, this system of questioning isn’t new. It pre-dates our society, traced back almost 2,000 years to the New Testament. In the Gospels (the books: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) Jesus is constantly confronted and questioned by the Pharisees, a group of the religious middle-class. Their questions were pulled from the commandments, which had been delivered by Moses to the Israelites as a means of setting God’s standard for His children. They questioned him on the issues of divorce, working on the Sabbath and eating impure food. On the surface their line of questioning appears legitimate, but closer examination reveals they were looking for ways to accuse Jesus because they didn’t like the way His presence was shaking up the religious and political order which they profited from.
What they failed to realize was the very existence of Jesus abolished the “rules”. The birth of Jesus abolished the line in the sand which said you are either right or wrong.
We’re not far removed from the Pharisees. When we ask these questions or engage in these theological debates we can miss the heart of God and take away from the point of Jesus’ atonement.
Let’s look at it another way: When we (either Christian or not) begin asking questions, steering on the side of judging what is morally correct we’re looking for reasons to bring accusation. We are unknowingly accusing ourselves of being beyond redemption if we find ourselves on the side of wrong. We are unknowingly accusing others of not being worthy of the Gospel. Or, worse–we are unknowingly accusing God of not being who He says He is.
As a Christian my job is not to judge what is morally inept. My opinions on gay marriage, gun control or sex before marriage matter little in the face of the Gospel. Gospel in the Greek means good news. The good news is Jesus came to be the light of the world, baring the truth of God. God’s truth doesn’t always fit into a box marked right or wrong.
Rather, His truth looks at the moral divide and says, “My grace is sufficient in your weakness”. Truth blows away the line in the sand by saying, “I love you enough to die for you.” Truth obliterates any accusation by expressing that we are raised to life.
Simply expressed, Christianity is not about rules or regulations. It’s not about being right. It’s about reconciliation justified through an undying love. A love like that is hard to debate.
The next time we’re asking questions or are engaged in debate, we should check the motive of our hearts. Are we as Christians responding out of self righteousness or do we have an earnest desire to close the divide?
Now it’s your turn:
If you’re Christian, how do you help the world know more about Jesus? If you’re not a Christian what are some of your reservations about Christianity?
I love hearing from you guys. Let’s chat in the comments section below.