Jun 29, 2020 • Written by Rachel Boulos
It feels like we’ve moved from one season of fear and chaos to another without missing a beat.
Sin has been the main character on my TV lately. Over the last few months, it’s appeared in various forms like murder, assault, racism, violence, anarchy, arrogance, hatred, fear, selfishness, idolatry, greed, pride, slander, foolishness and the distortion of truth.
It can be difficult to know how to navigate the noise right now. The pressure to pick a side along a growing divide feels overwhelming and inescapable. It’s easy to get caught up in the screaming match or jump on whatever bandwagon happens to be driving by.
For me, this chaotic world can create a feeling of confusion. The mix of true and false information leaves me feeling disoriented and lost. In order to regain my sense of agency, it can be tempting to grasp at anything that promises clarity and control – regardless of its accuracy.
During turbulent times like these, it’s important to pay attention to how culture (and adversity) is influencing your beliefs, attitudes and decisions.
Is your view of God or the Gospel changing? How is your faith being affected by those around you? Is your lens and worldview a Biblical one? Are you compromising truth in the name of love?
In times of confusion, truth is what brings clarity. It anchors you in the storm of adversity, lights your path in darkness and teaches you right from wrong.
But who determines what is right and true? Is it the one who shouts the loudest? The one with the most power? The one who is most convincing? Or do we each dictate our own personal truth?
God cares about the truth because He is truth (John 14:6). Because God is truth, He alone has the right to define it. There is no sin, deceit or falsehood in Him (1 John 1:5; Ps 92:15). He is not a God of confusion, but one of peace and clarity (1 Cor 14:33). God has gone to great lengths to personally reveal truth to humanity, recorded in His Word, so that we will not be left in darkness without hope (Ex 19:11; John 17:17). Truth is what “sets us free” from sin, confusion, lies, doubt and fear (John 8:31-32).
Evaluating my heart is important because it can easily be deceived and led astray (Jer 17:9). Promoting social righteousness, speaking out against evil and helping the oppressed are good things. Accepting, listening and loving others is needed - so long as we are not distorting the truth or defecting from God in our attempt to befriend the world (or avoid being attacked by it).
Jesus didn’t come to earth to be a political leader or bring about social justice reform. He didn’t come to start a self-improvement program, make us happy or become the power source for achieving our dreams.
Jesus came to earth to die; to save people from their sin and way of life that leads to death. Humanity naturally loves wrong more than right and stands opposed to God (Dan 9:5). Our own sinful nature is what needs to be forgiven and restored. God is the only one who can change us by giving us a new heart and mind that is inclined toward Him and godly living (Ez 11:19-20; John 3:3; 2 Cor 5:17-18).
Jesus doesn’t ask us to help save the world - He did that all on His own. Our job is not to save or change the world but to reconcile it to God by being ambassadors of the truth in both word and deed (2 Cor 5:18-6:1; Mark 16:15).
Truth and love are not mutually exclusive. You do not have to sacrifice one on the altar of the other. Too often we soften God’s truth with politically correct terms and labels. We suggest solutions that stop just short of the Gospel. We magnify some of God’s attributes while downplaying others. We like to talk about love but not holiness, mercy but not judgment. We dismiss sin as simply being someone’s preference or personal right.
When we water down the truth about God and His Word in order to “love” others well, we actually lose on both fronts. We doom people to either a life of pride or one of despair. All the tolerance, love and good vibes in the world will never be enough to fix our problems. Only Jesus can save the world. God’s love in light of our sin is what leads us to repentance and a relationship with Him (Rom 5:8; Acts 3:19). Caring about the world means telling people the whole truth - about God, sin, salvation and renewed life that comes through Jesus.
A desire for change is a good thing. But if we speak about love and justice outside of the Gospel message, we leave the world without hope.
During these difficult times, may we cling to the truth and what is good. May we evaluate our hearts and minds in light of God’s Word. May we steward well the influence God gives us. May we be examples of righteousness. And may we love others, not just through words and good vibes, but through godly action and truth (1 John 3:18).