I have been thinking lately about how does Jesus view the responsibility of His people in our divided world? Last week, we talked about our passion to follow him in our marketplace and represent the right side up life in Christ in an upside-down world. Today, let’s further discuss our present reality in our culture.
Since we are citizens of the Kingdom of God, how are we called to engage as right-side-up people is an ever-increasing multiethnic and multicultural world. The work of an ambassador / missionary must then involve learning the stories, dreams, and pain of others, cross culturally—to allow God to dismantle our prejudices and stereotypes across gender, class, and race so that we might extend transformative love and forge reconciliation in sinful and divided situations.
One cannot be a missionary and Kingdom laborer if prejudices contaminate the heart. One cannot be a missionary and not acknowledge the full humanity of all those around them. Prejudice is a form of fear, which is a weapon in the war Satan started against God; the perfect love of God—God’s weapon—casts out fear. (1 John 4:18)
As we lean into God’s love, it becomes possible to stand firmly on the authority and centrality of Scripture and reject prejudice, acknowledging that all human beings are made in the image of God even as all are in need of salvation, transformation, and liberation. God’s love for us cultivates God’s love in us.
We live in a divided world. Just spend a few minutes on Facebook or watch your evening news. Can we truly serve as Kingdom laborers if we are contributing to the division? Is judgment and anger really the solution to racism, sexism, and classism? Is sustained anger and judgment really going to address systemic poverty and injustice? The various social issues of this upside-down world should indeed break our hearts and even provoke righteous anger. But love, reconciliation, and healing action is what will bring the Kingdom of God to bear on these issues.
This doesn’t mean that we have to compromise biblical truth; it means that we acknowledge that being known primarily as judgmental and angry with the world works at cross purposes with our living as evangelists, missionaries, and ambassadors of God’s love.
Christ looks at the multitude of broken, lost, and sinful people trapped by these issues, and both feels and extends compassion, the deepest core of who God is. Christ then invites us to participate in this work.
Living as right-side-up people and beloved children of God is about aligning our lives with the compassion of God. Some Christians respond to social issues with political ideology instead of the revolutionary love of God.
Divorced from God’s love, our work may see some small or short-term success, but ultimately it will devolve into one of those things of the world that is slowly and silently killing us. This is the messiness of being in this world but not of it (John 17:15-19). We must continually surrender to the love of God if we want our Kingdom labor to bear Kingdom fruit.