Street riots. Social media comment battles. Cancel culture. In today’s society, individuals with opposing views cannot stand the sight of one another. The divide amongst our country is more evident than ever, tearing apart friendships and isolating families. Rage stirs within those who encounter different beliefs, but how should Christians respond to this?
Despite the influences of the world, Christians are called to be set apart and different. When persecuted because of conflicting beliefs, we are called to turn the other cheek. “But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well,” Matthew 5:39-40 says. This verse emphasizes the “kill them with kindness” mentality. Christians should ultimately, over anything else, treat those around us with love. One way to carry out Christ’s commands is to not engage in persecution.
Why are Christians set apart? Why do we have to act differently? Colossians 3:17 says, “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Christians are the Lord’s servants. In order to be a Jesus follower, you must submit everything and live for Him, carrying our own crosses. We are the ambassadors of Christ. Therefore, if you claim to be a Christian, whatever you do must reflect the character of Jesus and shine a light different than the world. This does not mean that we will be perfect. It is just an ultimate goal of Christianity:to shine the light of the Lord to all we encounter.
Issues regarding cultural disagreements can affect the heart’s posture toward someone due to his/her beliefs. We may even be tempted to question someone’s devotion to the Lord based on their beliefs. These controversies hinder fellowship with one another, which contradicts God’s plan for Christians. “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another,” reads Hebrew 10:24.
Nonetheless, there are evident controversies in this world that ultimately take wisdom and the Holy Spirit to discern right from wrong. We also must be mindful of worldly propaganda attempting to shift and morph the Christian worldview. As Romans 12:2 says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Christians are ultimately called to love one another and join in fellowship. We have to leave the rest to the Lord.