Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
The world is complicated, fallen, confusing, and perverted. The things that are done and the people that govern are often without merit, without Godliness. I often feel like it would be best to trust in God, and, as He says, trust Him completely. To stop caring. To let go.
But it’s not time to let go.
You see, trusting God doesn’t come with a mandate to let go of a civil involvement, to become apathetic, or to turn a blind eye to those things around us. In a time of spiritual warfare, one of the most misguided moves a person like myself could make is to simply stop caring.
But don’t we care? We never become apathetic, do we?
Let’s dive deeper.
Romans 12:9-13 reads, “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.”
The verbs here share two things in common: they’re imperatives, and they’re actions. Let love be genuine. Abhor, hold fast, love, outdo…in showing honor. Do not be slothful, be fervent, serve, rejoice, be patient, be constant, contribute, show.
Being completely honest, then, we do indeed become apathetic.
For times such as these, this is precisely what we should be doing as Christians. So often, we lose ourselves in either the apathy or a false “trust” in God, or the zeal for small doctrinal issues which conveniently ignore the largest, most weighty issues of the day. After all, isn’t it easier to argue about infant baptism than to confront a pro-choice world about the murder of millions of innocent children? At the same time, isn’t it easier to simply throw your ten percent in the bucket at church than to engage the people around you in constructive discussions, thereby showing the light of Christ to them rather than simply sponsoring it?
Do not drift, simply allowing things to happen as they may, giving lip-service to God in the form of “trust” that just makes you feel good. God says “So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth” (Revelation 3:16).
At the same time, becoming an active member of the Lord’s army doesn’t mean adopting an outlook of disrespect. Too often, we lapse into engagements centered on personal attacks, name-calling, and attempts to tear down an argument by tearing down the person behind the argument. While we should be active in the advancement of God’s kingdom, we should also make sure to respect those with whom we speak—engage them with the intelligence due the worth that you ascribe to them from their status as image-bearers of God.
In this time of highly contested issues, I ask that you join me in a quest to do three things: to be informed from Scripture, to be invested in our world, and to respect everyone. Perhaps then, we can advance the Kingdom more constructively, together.
Mark Lyford (17) is a staff writer at TPS Chapel and a senior at The Potter's School