You buy some fresh meat. The next day you notice it’s not looking good. Are you shocked? Do you take it back to the seller and demand your money? Not if you’re living in the first century. You would not be shocked to see decay because meat is doing what meat does - without a preservative.
Two thousand years ago, salt was used to prevent meat from rotting. It interacted with the meat and stood in the way of decay. In this context, Jesus turned to his followers and said, “you are the salt of the earth!” The world is decaying – morally, spiritually and physically. Christians are called to interact with the culture, standing up for truth and standing in the way of decay.
Fast-forward two thousand years and we see the word of God removed from schools, public institutions, the media, and even some churches. We see Christians denied the right to speak-out about what followers of Jesus believe and why they believe it. Don’t be shocked to see decay because culture is doing what culture does – without a preservative.
However, take heart. Jesus spoke to his followers against such a backdrop, a culture suffering serious moral, spiritual and physical decay. We’re not in a unique situation. We’re in good company. The Bible is still our guide to prayerfully and practically steer people in the right direction.
First, Christians need to love and respect those they disagree with. Someone said - wisely, that people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.
Second, our job is not to make anyone believe anything. We can’t. We shouldn’t try. However, we are responsible to stand-up and speak out with love, gentleness and respect. Be prepared to share where we came from, why we’re here and where we’re going. Explain the reason why we can make sense of this broken world, putting enough pieces together to show the big picture.
Third, Jesus said Christians are the light of the world. Don’t be surprised to see those without the light stumbling around in the darkness. Don’t expect those who don’t have Jesus to live like Jesus. Instead, be patient, prayerful and pro-active as you shine and share the good news of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Fourth and finally, there is hope!
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