How do you respond to situations that, no matter what is said or done, will cause an immediate sense of awkwardness, alienation, frustration, sadness, or hostility? What are you to do when you are stuck in that proverbial position? It can be one of the hardest things to do. To make a statement or decision you know is going to cause unpleasantness. However, the fact of life remains, we are not going to please everyone. So stop trying. If you are bent on pleasing every person you come across, you’re destined to fail. Or, even worse, you’re destined to compromise your faith, values, and/or morals in a skewed attempt at happily ever after.
This is, in my humble opinion, why so many Christians provide a warped sense of Christianity to the rest of the world. They are under the impression that they are to win over the world in one try. Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, allow me to remind you that Christians are followers of Jesus Christ. The one and only person whose sole purpose was to alienate people from the “norm”. Jesus lived his life presenting truth. And let us not forget that the truth hurts. It’s uncomfortable and will always cause people to squirm. The truth of the matter is that Jesus should not be viewed as a free-loving hippie. He ruffled feathers, alienated the “religious” leaders of the day, and caused dissension among the rank and file.
Consider when Jesus called out the Samaritan woman for her adulterous lifestyle (John 4). In a simple act of drawing water from a well and a short conversation, this woman’s sins were laid out before her. As the text reads, she asks if Jesus is a prophet for knowing what she had been doing in “secret”. However, I can only imagine the awkward state she must have been in prior to gaining her wits and responding to Jesus’ message. Jesus could have simply presented salvation to her, drank his water, and left. He didn’t. Regardless of potentially hurting this lady’s feelings, or causing her to be mad, He carries on out of love for her soul. In so doing, a town is brought to faith.
Consider also the story of when the Pharisees caught a woman in adultery and presented her to Jesus (John 8:1-11). Regardless of what was said, or not said in Jesus writing on the ground, people’s sins were brought to light. This woman’s sins were exposed before the entire crowd. And, what I believe to be the reason for Jesus writing on the ground, the Pharisee’s sins were exposed, albeit in their hears and minds. Jesus caused each of them to see themselves for who they truly were. This caused them to walk away, tail between their legs.
The resounding aspect in both of these examples is not the awkwardness of people’s sins being exposed. To me, it’s the limitless love that Jesus presented to all. He loved the Samaritan woman so much, he called her out on her sin. He loved the Pharisees so much, in a way that only He could do, exposed their shortcomings without humiliation.
So here’s the challenge. What are we going to do when we know people are sinning. Do we ignore it to save ourselves from an awkward encounter? Quite the contrary. We show the love of Christ and speak up. It may be uncomfortable. It may cause an awkward silence. It may cause dissension, anger, or hostility. But it could also bring someone to faith in Christ and eternal salvation.
“For ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?” (Romans 10:13-14, NLT; italics mine)
Are you willing to forsake the awkwardness for the sake of eternity?
Rak Chazak! God bless you!!