Two weeks ago I blogged about how Christians are meant to respond to all the craziness in our culture. Today, I thought I’d explore the question of what it looks like to love a world that’s increasingly hostile to believers.
Many of us have spent decades fighting—rather loudly, in some cases—the people we disagree with. Some of us get on our bully pulpits and preach the truth—that sin is sin and those who don’t repent will be sorry. It’s true, but is that approach effective? Are we who condemn the lost changing the culture? Are we saving sinners?
The snowballing descent into depravity we’ve seen in this country in the last 40 years testifies to the fact that all our yelling and condemnation aren’t doing much good. In fact, that behavior is making us less respected and more abhorred every day.
So what are we to do? How do we love a hostile world?
I think the first step lies with an oft quoted scripture, 2 Chronicles 7:14: “If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
God is America’s only hope, and we Christians are the only ones standing between America and judgment. Those who hate us don’t believe that—they think we’re the problem. We know the truth, though, that only God can put us back on the right track.
Unfortunately, so many Christians have forgotten that—myself included, until recently. We work hard and make money and send our kids to school and volunteer at the church and vote when we’re supposed to. But we dabble in the culture, or steep ourselves in it until we’re so stained by it, we’re hardly different from our non-Christian neighbors.
But we are America’s only hope.
You, dear Christian, might be the only person on your block who has God’s ear. What are you doing with that access?
What am I doing with it?
The first way to love the lost is to obey the scripture above. We must humble ourselves, admit that we have been part of the problem. We must ask God to reveal our sins to us, then repent, because Isaiah 59:2 tells us that our sins separate us from God and hinder our prayers.
We must admit that we Christians have fallen asleep at the wheel, and because of that, the nation has run off the road and is about to plummet over a cliff. We must beg God’s forgiveness for our complacency. We must seek his face, search for him in every situation, and desire his presence above all.
We must seek to fulfill the calling God has placed on our lives rather than running after the false gods the world has to offer. We must, by the grace of God, stop doing the stuff we’re not supposed to do and start doing the stuff we are.
And we must pray for America. Pray for our politicians and bureaucrats, for our schools and institutions and teachers and pastors and business leaders.
We must pray for our community, pray for our coworkers, pray for that gay couple who lives next door. Pray for the teenagers with the too-loud music and the too-short shorts. Pray for the man down the street who lets his grass grow too long. Pray for the addicts. Pray for the elderly. Pray for the middle-aged. Pray for the mothers and fathers and children.
If you do nothing else, the first and best way you can love the lost of this world is to be the man or woman God called you to be, and then to pray for the lost. And pray that the rest of the church follows suit.
Do you find it difficult to pray for strangers or people you know dislike you? How do you overcome that those difficulties?
What tips do you use to remind you to pray for America and/or your local community?
Robin Patchen lives in Edmond, Oklahoma, with her husband and three teenagers. Her third book, Finding Amanda, has just been named a finalist in the ACFW Carol Awards. Check out its free prequel, Chasing Amanda. When Robin isn’t writing or caring for her family, she works as a freelance editor at Robin’s Red Pen, where she specializes in Christian fiction. Read excerpts and find out more at her website, robinpatchen.com.