I remember the first time God said it to me at the lunch table. “The best thing you can do for me is not defend me right now. Keep quiet. Pray. Love your co-workers. Speak up only when I tell you to.”
I’m convinced that we’d maintain more ground, if we defended less.
It can just kind of hit you one day, when your co-worker complains about Christians and their influence on morality. You don’t need to defend me. You don’t need to give your opinion when the Spirit is telling you they’re not ready to hear. Defending me is not going to change their mind. But living the word in Spirit and in truth will. You had to come to me, too, and experience me before you let me change your theology.”
We show the world our theology and wonder why they don’t accept our God. Really, we need to show the world our God, and let Him change their theology.
There are times I scroll down my Facebook newsfeed and cringe at the output of Christians. Angry, raging, victim-centric message after message. Illogical to boot (you cannot criticize in a politician what you tolerate if they’re of your own political leaning). A few Bible verses posted on your wall does not undo the damage of those angry post in an unbeliever’s mind. We need to be very careful about how and when we engage people in dialogue. It is possible to believe what you believe politically, and express it in a manner consistent with the gospel.
We need to do a better job about being a safe place for people, for the marginalized and disenfranchised, for questioners, for doubters, for atheists, and for aggressive agnostics, because they need to see God’s love the most. Sometimes that involves speaking up. Sometimes that involves simple prayer. The only fail-proof way to know is to know the Spirit and His leading well.