Post by Faith Reboot’s Tanisha Henderson
In high school, I would daydream about who I might marry. To get clarity on whether or not this lucky gent and I were compatible, I would try his last name on for size. Many pieces of paper were wasted and many potential mates were eliminated by this precise endeavor.
Sadly for a long time, I used this same technique when it came to the new name offered to me by Jesus death on the cross. I grew up in the church. Knew the ABC’s of how to be saved. Daydreamed about the day I would submit my life to God.
My way. My time. When I was ready.
So precise in this plan that I had even imagined that if I was on my deathbed, I would pray the second before my last breath to receive Jesus thus guaranteeing my space in heaven. Many years were wasted and many foolish choices were made during this imprecise avoidance.
In both of these scenarios, I was fooling only myself. Delusional. To think that choosing a husband was as simple as a last name that looked and sounded good attached to my first name. To think that choosing to follow Jesus was as simple as making a decision to lay down my life when I was ready.
It found me. Rescued me. Showed me how truly evil I was. Confronted me with what end I truly deserved. Convinced me that hell was fair. Revealed to me the depths of what Jesus had done for me on the cross. Invited me to escape my guilt and punishment. Accepted my confession and repentance. Exchanged my foolishness for Christ’s righteousness. Changed my name, my life, my allegiance forever. Freed me from the lie that I was in control. Rescued me from my need to plan out my own life. Welcomed me into an understanding that His will is what’s best for me.
I am at home. Yet I still live in a strange land.
According to Wikipedia, social responsibility is defined as an ethical framework which suggests that an entity, be it an organization or individual, has an obligation to act for the benefit of society at large. Wikipedia goes on to conclude that this responsibility can be passive, by avoiding engaging in socially harmful acts, or active, by performing activities that directly advance social goals. This is the world’s view of social responsibility. I dare say that God’s perspective is much different. We certainly do need to act for the benefit of society at large. We certainly do not get choose whether to be active or passive. Yet, sadly, under the guise of tolerance, adherence to a social gospel, and the more-than one-way-to-God opinions, many Christians are passive. I recall ten years of passivity in me and still to this day, I battle with the thin line of doing too much and not doing enough. So what is the answer for us Jesus-following folk when it comes to social responsibility?
In Micah 6:6a the Israelites ask the prophet, “What can we bring to the Lord?” As believers today, we are still asking this question.
Should we :
all stand outside of abortion clinics with or without signs to impede women from going in?
all use social media to broadcasts our stance on same-sex relations?
all volunteer at homeless shelters?
all be adopting?
all volunteer our time leaving no leisure time for rest?
all witness everywhere we go or just to the people who ask us about our faith?
all tell God how many children we want or let Him tell us how many children to have?
all love guns or hate them?
all homeschool or send our kids to public/private school?
all be doing more with moving us towards true racial harmony?
all go on mission trips or just the people who really feel led to go?
This list could go on and on. But these are all just things to do. Check-off lists. Guilt appeasers. Self-righteous teasers. I believe that God’s answer to the Israelites is the same answer He gives to us today. Micah 6:8 No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.
Three the Hard Way or Not
Anytime we begin to wonder if we are doing enough, we have forgotten three of Jesus’ very important words on the cross, “It is finished.”
Anytime we are thinking that others aren’t doing enough, we are guilty of thinking like the Pharisee who prayed the words, “I thank you, God, that I am not like this sinner” (Luke 18:9-14.)
To me, social responsibility for a Christian boils down to these three questions:
- Are my actions right according to God’s word?
- Do my actions show a love of mercy to others who might disagree?
- Would God agree that my actions are coming from a place of humility toward Him and others?
No more trying on this robe of righteousness and then looking in the mirror in the fitting room of the world to see if it is suitable attire for the environment we are in at the moment. Let’s own it. Let’s always be dressed appropriately in the garment that Christ died for us to wear boldly. Let’s be responsibly social by remembering that this world is not home, yet living here in a way that shows that we want to be a part of how Jesus’ is growing his guest lists.
If all Christians were to mind their own business, there would literally be Hell to pay for lots of others due to that choice. By grace, may we use our God-commanded obligation to act to show how Jesus’ pure love is indeed for the true benefit of society at large.