Letter to My Fellow Sojourners

I understand that some of you think my take on current events is, at least at times, negative…and that there is a lot of good going on in the world.  You think it might be better if I didn’t publish so many negative articles about happenings and trends in the world.

Let me first say that I appreciate your concern for me, and I do not take it lightly that you care enough about me to express it.  However, I also need to say that I don’t think you have an accurate view of what I’m doing or why I’m doing it.  So I want to take some time to help you understand the perspective that I hold, and which drives me to write the things I write.

I begin by reminding you of the obvious: my perspective is shaped by the Bible.  In fact, rather than let the Bible influence my perspective on the world, I seek to fully embrace the Bible’s perspective and have it completely replace my own.  Alas, you have known me long enough to know that I haven’t always succeeded at this.  There have been times when my faith was weak.  Thus I have not always been a beacon of light to you.  I am sorry; please forgive me.   In any case, I am determined not to let my prior stumblings prevent me from walking fully in this light that I have been given in all the days that remain before me.  When I speak of “my” perspective, therefore, keep in mind the source of that perspective – that is, keep in mind the One from whom I learned it.

Is the world a good place?  My perspective tells me that God made it a good place, but that man spoils it.  There is good and evil coexisting on the earth, and our responsibility is to choose the good and eschew the evil.  Of course, this is easier said than done.

One of the factors that makes this harder to do than say is that there is not common agreement in the world about what is good and what is evil.  Just to pick some obvious examples:

  • Some people see abortion as evil while others see any obstacle to abortion as evil.
  • Some people see sex outside of a man-woman marriage as evil while others see restriction of marriage to men and women as evil.
  • Some people see suicide as evil while others see it as a person’s right to choose.

How then are we to live good lives in a world where there is so much disagreement about what a good life looks like.  In many people’s eyes, I am a homophobic bigot, a Neanderthal, an intolerant religious extremist.  There’s just no getting around the fact that there are contradictory – not just different – views of what constitutes good and evil in America today.

The Bible says that sin has made the world a sinful and confusing place.  It says that few are those who find the path to life in it, but many follow the way of destruction.  It says “Woe to you when all men speak well of you” and “Blessed are you when you are persecuted for the sake of righteousness.”  In other words, the world is hostile to the way of life that Jesus teaches.

You can see this hostility everywhere.  You can see it in the world of entertainment.  Turn on practically any television program or watch any movie and you will have no difficult find people who believe the things I believe portrayed in a negative way.  You can see it in the educational system. You can see it in the news outlets.  You can see it throughout pop culture.  I don’t have to tell you these things.  If you don’t think they can affect you, certainly you are concerned about what they can do to your children.  Do you want your children to accept the view of life held by the majority of Americans today?

The question is: should the minority of people who want to do the right thing be prevented from speaking to each other and from speaking publicly?  And just leave aside the speaking publicly for a moment, what about you and me?  Do you want me to be quiet about these things?  Do you want me to go along with the lie that says the world is doing fine.  It isn’t doing fine.  It’s corrupt, and it’s trying to corrupt you and your children.

Yes, we have to live in the world,  And, yes, most people are unwitting accomplices in its corrupting ways.  But this is all the more reason that those who see what’s going to speak the truth to each other and to encourage each other.  For without that encouragement, many of those who want to do right become discouraged and despondent.  They begin to think they are the problem.  Yet they are the ones wanting to do right in a world that doesn’t.

Please don’t try to discourage me or others from speaking the truth in love.  Please don’t insist that all our conversations be reduced to the small-talk of weather and sports scores.  Life in this world is a battle of good versus evil, and it is our assignment to overcome evil with good.  One of the ways we do this is to make clear distinctions between what is good and what is merely politically correct.  Another way is to strengthen the convictions of those who want to do right by pointing out truth when we see it and warning about lies when we see them.

Does this mean that everyone who wants to do the right thing in God’s sight will agree?  I don’t think so.  But I do think they’ll agree more often than they disagree.  And I think they’ll agree on important things more often than they do on less important things.   Most of all, I think they’ll be an encouragement to each other – just as I think you and I can and should be an encouragement to each other.

So, if by “negative” you mean that I often say the world is going the wrong way and I don’t want you to go that way with them, I guess you can call me negative.  But from my perspective, I’m being positive.  I’m turning on a light in the darkness.  I’m nourishing your soul by encouraging you to be an example of doing right in a world that’s seems to be losing more of its mind every day.  I – and others – are reminding you of what’s right in a world that forgets every day a little bit more of what’s right.

Yes, there are good things happening in the world…but most of those things are incurring the world’s disapproval.  That’s what Paul meant when he said, “All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus shall be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12).

I sure hope the people who want to do what’s right in God’s eyes in this world will never stop encouraging each other to do what’s right and avoid what’s evil.  For there are precious few of these people in the world as it is.  I consider you one of them, and that’s why I write things like this.  I want you to receive all the encouragement in God you possibly can.

 

 

 

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