The Power of a Loving Approach in the Church

Did you know that you can believe something that’s right, but be wrong in your approach? Let me explain.

 

For especially the last three years, I’ve noticed a disturbing trend among a good number of God’s people. The early Christians were known for their love. Right? In John 13:35 we read, “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples” (NLT). The New Testament was written against a backdrop of government persecution and Roman oppression. However, nowhere in the gospels or epistles do we find Christians spending their time or righteous might   fighting the government, or staging protests of any kind. We do see them, however, fearlessly preaching the gospel. Christ-centered preaching was often met with strong resistance. The original disciples (later the apostles) with the exception of John, were martyred for their faith in Jesus.

 

Both their faith and approach toward lost people smacked of a deep abiding love for their Savior. Their overall premise was that culture improves through changed lives that reflect the love and beauty of Jesus. Early Church Father, Tertullian, tells us that pagans were struck by the witness of Christian love. “See how they love one another,” they would remark. I wonder how many people look at us and say the same.

 

The answer to man’s sinful dilemma, social and moral injustices, heart-hardness, and cruelties of all kinds was and is Jesus. And because true Christianity runs contrary to a godless world system, Christians have always experienced persecution to some degree.

 

What about Christian America? As we face yet another presidential election, I sense many Christ followers gearing up for a fight. Extreme right-wingers and many conservatives are flexing their self-righteous muscles. Name calling, harsh accusations, threats, partial truths and outright lies, gross disrespect, and even physical altercations are already making the news. Sadly, some prophetic voices and some pastors are using their influence to stir up misdirected animosity. God’s people are often encouraged to become strife-mongers. Our democratic right of free speech, they strongly infer, gives Christians the right to express themselves through anger, hate and harsh verbal encounters. Social media venues provide platforms to espouse their misguided confrontations.  

 

Again, New Testament precedents reveal the fact that first-century pagan cultures were met head-on by love personified. My friend, there is no greater force on earth than the beauty of a changed life, where godly love rules and wrongs are confronted through heart-wrenching prayer. “If my people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves and pray, and seek my face…” (2 Chronicles 7:14).

 

Yes, it is true that Christians can be right in what they say and believe, but totally wrong in their expression and approach. An unbelieving world will never respond to the claims of a loving Savior as long as those who profess His name, come at them through anger and hate.


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