Sometimes it’s just necessary to state the obvious. Case in point. How should Christians “feel” about senseless acts of violence against people just because they are different, such as the two transgender individuals murdered recently? The answer – and hopefully this is obvious – we should be absolutely heart broken. As Christians these acts of violence should grieve us for so many reasons, not the least of which is that a life, always sacred to God, was judged to be “less” and then tragically taken. That grieves God, who loves all people and it should grieve us too.
But for many of us this “obvious” truth begs the question of what should be a Christian’s attitude or stance in the midst of the raging culture wars, the clash between biblical convictions and the world’s agenda. This clash is seen in the current fight over abortion as well as a slew of sexual ethics questions but is not limited to those. Figuring out REAL FAITH, our current study, demands an answer. My answer: I think we need to be bi-focal. Hear me out. I’ll keep it brief for this column’s sake.
As Christians we acknowledge that God is God, that He is Sovereign, and therefore He gets to define what is right and wrong. He gets to define the Truth. Our task is to have a reverent passion to know and accept that Truth as revealed by Him in the scriptures, no matter how unpopular it may be. We need to keep an unrelenting focus on Truth. If we don’t, we lose the very means God designed to set the world free – Truth. But, and please hear this “but”, we should also be focused on being the most compassionate, merciful people on the planet because we are the ones who have experienced the mercy of God. We should be the ones who cross the road to care for the wounded as the Good Samaritan did in Jesus’ parable. We should be the ones to love those who don’t want our love. We should actively serve those whose lifestyle we cannot champion or celebrate. We should be the ones who offer a gentle word to turn away wrath. In short, we need to be bi-focal, focused both on Truth and on Mercy.
The Truth is what gives us a light to shine in the darkness, but compassion/mercy is what allows us to hold it up high so that everyone might see our good deeds and glorify our Father in heaven. Therefore, we need to be bi-focal, focused on both. Unfortunately, too much of the professing church today is erring on one or both sides. Many are unaware of the Truth, or under-value its importance, or are seeking a way to ignore it or explain it away. But just as many, if not more, are failing to act mercifully, seeing those who differ with us as adversaries rather than as those we are called to love and serve. Still others simply withdraw, not focusing on Truth because they don’t put in the effort to know it, but also not being merciful either as they are just content to sit on the sidelines because is just so hard and intimidating out there.
If we are going to be God’s redemptive agents in our time, we must be unreservedly people of Truth who are also the most compassionate people on the planet. We must be bi–focal. Like you, I am on a journey to figure out all that being bi-focal means. I’m glad I’m on this journey with you.