The Gospel is our focus in every moral quandary

by Kyle
published April 15, 2013


Read More Looking Up

Read More Upward Glances

Every now and then, the Standard-Times publishes a story that hits a nerve with San Angeloans, as evidenced by the comments on our website. Usually, these stories touch a moral issue and tend to report salacious or wild behavior.

By “every now and then,” I mean frequently.

A good example of this is the story reporting a franchiser’s plans to open a Twin Peaks restaurant in the old Golden Corral building on Knickerbocker Road.

Almost immediately, the line was drawn in the sand. In one corner, you had the vehemently opposed, Christian-ish moralists whose objections ranged from food quality and prices to fear of increased incidents of rape and violent crime to the obvious cornerstone of Twin Peaks’ business model.

One user, san_angelo_ex_pat, astutely noted, “One does not got to these places for the food.”

In the other corner were the more morally libertarian commenters. Their complaint seemed to be primarily against the moralists rather than the restaurant itself, claiming that adults should be allowed to do what they want — be it opening a restaurant, going to work in skimpy outfits or eating dinner while enjoying Twin Peaks’ trademark view — so long as it doesn’t hurt anybody.

This isn’t the only such story, though. Pick any story on with more than 50 comments that poses a moral question, and you will find the same lines drawn.

Let me be clear on my position first.

Jesus said, “everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” — Matthew 5:28

He also said, “It is inevitable that stumbling blocks come, but woe to him through whom they come!” — Luke 17:1

So enjoying a woman’s sexual appeal — if she is not your wife — is illicit, and encouraging someone to lust after her is wrong.

To put on display for mass consumption that with which God intended to bless only one man cheapens what He has created. To look at a woman other than my wife that way would be to offend God by discounting His work, insult my spouse by turning my eye to someone else, rob the woman’s current or eventual spouse by exploiting a beauty meant only for him, and infect that woman’s mind with the idea that the only way for her to receive positive male attention is in a sexualized context. It is wrong. To build a business model on that is worse.

But it’s par for the course.

May I suggest that the typical, moralist reaction to stories like this is the wrong approach.

To say, “Do what we do!” to people who do not even claim to be part of us is absurd.

To call people to a higher moral standard who do not possess the faculties and world view to live up to that standard makes no sense.

The simple fact of the matter is that vociferous, annoying, nagging, bossy people claiming a right to dictate in the name of Christ is not how Jesus himself intended to change culture. If it were, don’t you think the incarnate God of the universe would have had a different sort of ministry on Earth while He was here?

Stop complaining about people sinning like you’re surprised when it’s the sort of behavior you should expect. Comments on a website will do nothing more than leave a bad taste in people’s mouth. If we are called to be salt, then the moralist nagging that has come to characterize Christians over-salts the dish.

So what is the solution? What should we do about the obvious moral inadequacies we see in the culture around us? I am so glad to serve a God who’s already thought it through. Let me share with you His program for cultural change.

1) Love people no matter what. Serve them. Be kind to them. Do not condemn because that is God’s prerogative, not yours.

Jesus said, “By this all men will know you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” — John 13:35

In fact, the second greatest commandment, according to Jesus, is, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” — Matthew 22:39

The practical truth is that no one will listen to you unless you love them first.

2) The Gospel is your only message to unbelievers. Paul describes the Gospel as being of “first importance.” (1 Corinthians 15:3)

Jesus’ parting words in all four Gospel accounts, and in Acts, were commands to be witnesses to the world of who He is and what He did. It makes no sense to follow His moral standard if you don’t believe in Him.

3) Let the Holy Spirit do the rest. Everyone who trusts in the person and work of Christ receives the Holy Spirit immediately upon their believing. According to Jesus, part of the Spirit’s job is to “convict the world concerning sin.” — John 16:8

He may use you to do it, but let’s be clear that the responsibility for changing people rests squarely on the shoulders of God, not you. Our job is to simply be there should He choose to use us.

I am not saying that, as Christians, we should not stand up for what is right. I am saying that until we have done it in the order and way in which God planned for us, we will never be effective.

A user named Shorebreak insisted, “you have no right to impose your values on the rest of society.”

He makes a good point. We don’t have the right, nor are we even called to try.

We are called to live as an example of those values and to persuade, in contrast to impose, people of God’s love and to follow Him, and then trust Him to change faulty values.

If the Gospel is not our focus, as it should be, we should be quiet about everything else until it is.

What do you think?

Leave a Reply

(Your email will not be publicly displayed.)

Captcha Code

Click the image to see another captcha.