The church is the hope of the world.
Jesus is the way.
Just preach the word.
All these truths are focal points of Christians in understanding our call from God. They come from scripture and are intended to help us have centers around which to guide our activity.
But are they meant to be slogans?
Far too often as Christians we take God’s word, and because of our correct and strong belief that all it says is true, we use it in ways that it was not intended and thereby push away the world.
Today, in my devotionals I read from Matthew 12:19-20, where Matthew quotes Isaiah in a prophecy about Jesus: “He will not fight or shout or raise His voice in public.
He will not crush the weakest reed or put out a flickering candle.”
Matthew wants us to know the character of Jesus. While powerful and influential, even commanding demons, Jesus is also gentle to those who are broken and loving to those who are far away from Him.
However, lately I wonder if the Church, in our attempt to brand ourselves and make statements to the world about who we are, has often missed the point.
Jesus, while very clear about who He was, never made the message about Himself. Instead, He gives glory to God and hope to the people around Him. What is different about this message from what many churches and Christians offer?
Far too often we make our messages about ourselves.
What if we changed our position?
I am not suggesting we change our beliefs or even hold less strong to the truths I started this article with, but what if we purposefully shifted our messages to help the lost and broken where they are?
What if our website headlines read, “Need hope?” with a picture of people whose lives have been changed?
What if we gave grace and forgiveness to those around us at the work place, and when they say to us, “Thanks for being encouraging.”, we respond, “I have received so much forgiveness in my life, how could I not give it to you.”?
What if we simply shared stories of how the word of God has affected us that others can relate to?
These scenarios hold to the truths we shared but keep the focus on the needs of the broken and lost, not on us. The key is to keep moving ourselves out of the center and keep Jesus and others in the center. In doing so we connect people to Him not us.
How we teach matters, so that what we teach can be heard by the world.
Instead of using scripture to design bumper stickers and t-shirts, we should use it to change the way we bring Christ’s love and truth to the world He truly loves. Stop fighting, shouting, and raising your voice in public.
Instead, be kind to the bruised and compassionate to the weak.
Then the truths we hold to will be known by all.
Dow Tippett is a local pastor, leadership speaker and author. Read more at www.thebarefootspeaker.com.