When Things Get Complicated, Remember the Basics

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babelWe’re Christians on the track, running the race with a great cloud of witnesses in the stands, saints of old who are cheering us on. But there’s a fog hanging over the section of the track in front of us. We’ve not been here.

This is the situation we find ourselves in.

Technological advances and moral decay have accelerated, perhaps feeding off one another, with the ground shifting so rapidly under our feet that we’re not always sure what to do or where to go.

The ethical dilemmas we are facing would boggle the mind of my great grandparents.

  • A woman in your congregation considers it her full-time job to be a surrogate mother for women who cannot conceive. I don’t understand. Isn’t motherhood defined by carrying a child? How can one mother host another mother’s child?
  • A photographer feels uncomfortable participating in a same-sex wedding ceremony and is facing fines that lead to the dissolution of their business. I don’t understand. What is a same-sex marriage? Isn’t that like saying “square circle?”
  • A business owner feels like he would be complicit in evil if he is forced to pay for his employee’s “constitutional right” to a chemical abortion through the company’s insurance policy. I don’t understand. Where is the Constitutional right for a mother to take the life of her child?

It’s not going to get easier.

If in a mere decade, a society can overturn a pillar that has undergirded civilization for thousands of years, what kind of changes will come in the next decade or two? The unthinkable is now the possible.

The cultural pressure upon us will increase. We better be okay with standing out from the rest of the world, no matter how unpopular it makes us.

We also better get used to people saying we are filled with hate and vitriol toward neighbors we disagree with. And we should do our best to show the world so much love that those labels don’t stick.

Maybe the way God is teaching us to reach out to the maligned and marginalized is by letting us taste the same kind of social ostracism.

Maybe the less we seek the love of society, the more we’ll be free to love others in God’s image.

Maybe the cultural car is careening toward the cliff, and we’re supposed to be the people who are standing with our arms outstretched saying, “Stop! You know not what you do.”

I don’t have all the answers to the ethical issues we face today. Nor do I know what issues will soon appear on the horizon.

What I do know is this: when things get complicated, we should remember the basics.

  • This world God created is good. He has a plan for it. We’re going somewhere.
  • This world is broken. We’ve all rebelled against our good and loving Father. We’re lost.
  • God demonstrates His great love for us in that even in our sinfulness and rebellion, He sent Christ to die for us.
  • The world will be redeemed. The great story of our world will have chapters where all hope seems to be lost, but like all great stories, the happy ending is assured. And the sequel will never end.

Life is complicated. Our choices won’t be easy. If we are to live faithfully in this brave new world, we will need wisdom from above.

But some things just aren’t going to change:

  • God still loves His children. And He even loves the people who hate Him and His church. Jesus’ dying breaths exhaled forgiveness.
  • We’re called to love our neighbors. Sometimes, loving comes easily. Other times, it’s harder. And Christian love assumes the strange posture of sometimes standing against the world for the good of the world.
  • The world still needs Jesus. The gospel is still powerful. And the church is still on mission.
  • There’s a city whose foundations are unshakable. And there’s a city of man that builds its idol-tower of “progress” to the sky. Christians who are most comfortable in the city of man find it hard to represent the city of God.

Jesus saves. So love God. Love people. The basics never change.

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