Sunday, November 20, 2005

Staying True to Christ and His Word

This morning, I was viewing a weblog "favorites" that my blog happens to be listed in and ran across an interesting post. Admittedly, the message at that site was geared more towards selling a product and how one needs to be wary of public opinion. However, after I read it, I was reminded of some discussions people had at the GodBlog conference concerning how Christians should be mindful and project a certain kind of image while GodBlogging.

Here is what it said:
"Bertrand Russell on public opinion"
One should as a rule respect public opinion in so far as is necessary to avoid starvation and to keep out of prison, but anything that goes beyond this is voluntary submission to an unnecessary tyranny, and is likely to interfere with happiness in all kinds of ways."

This has got to be the most difficult mind game an entrepreneur must play. On the one hand, you must follow your well-honed instincts. On the other hand, you must respect public opinion, in so far as it is required to remain solvent. But I've noticed lately that rather than create a brand that some people absolutely love, most people are trying to create brands that nobody hates. Big mistake!

Awhile back a friend was bemoaning the less than stellar rating he had received from an attendee at one of his seminars. One a scale of 1 - 5, he had received a lowly 1.

"What's so bad about that?" I asked. "It was a [darn] 1!" he replied. "That [stinks]." "No it doesn't," I assured him. "What [stinks] is receiving a whole bunch of 3's."

Today, you want to be either loved or hated. A "5" or a "1." You must discover who YOUR audience truly is and be a protagonist for something which THEY believe in and feel passionately about. And as far as the rest . . . kindly thank them for their opinions and then ignore them. As Bill Cosby once opined: "I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody."

(Note: I changed some inappropriate words in the quote.)

That Russell quote sums up how many in the atheistic, skeptical, non-believing world think. My message board/blogging conversations with skeptics, unfortunately, often boils down to this negative opinion about Christians and God: "voluntary submission to an unnecessary tyranny."

The rejection of the Bible as inerrant and absolute truth are causing many Christian churches and denominations to compromise the Bible and the bottom line, "politically correct" reason for this is their efforts in "trying to create brands that nobody hates." Isn't this glaringly evident in the liberal leaning churches?

The last paragraph (above, in bold) is the one that stood out for me. Isn't it true that when Christians share the gospel, the recipients often either will love it or hate it? I have seen other blogs which continually mock the Lord Jesus Christ, Christianity, and religion in general.

The mockers, skeptics, atheists, agnostics, followers of cults etc. have some common traits. My experience in discussions with non-believers often leads to the life and death issue. I have also found that such people have other views and experiences in common. One, is anger and/or disappointment with God; two, is mistreatment of some sort at a former church where they attended; three, is hatred for the God of the Bible; and fourth, is rejection of Jesus Christ and an attitude that "it's all just a myth". Such attitudes are often very relevant as to whether one believes in God or not and thus where a person ends up in eternity.

This paragraph could apply to Christian blogging, but it is missing one key element: "You must discover who YOUR audience truly is and be a protagonist for something which THEY believe in and feel passionately about."

In Christian blogging, it is often the opposite. We counter what the audience currently believes. The purpose of a blog like mine isn't so much discovering who my audience is because the people visiting can be quite diverse. The crucial point that isn't included in that quote is the fact that each Bible believing born-again Christian that visits and posts at this site absolutely share the belief in the gospel message and feel passionate about sharing it with others. We have that fact in common. This, we do, despite the rejection we might inevitably receive from visitors.

Those in the "audience" who are not Christians will likely disagree with most of what is shared here. I do agree that as Christians we are to be compassionate and display the 'fruit of the Spirit' (see Galatians 5:2; Ephesians 5:9) whenever possible to those who visit. However, as we have seen, tempers can flare and people can get angry, hurt, or feel rejected no matter how loving we try to be.

Sometimes even the best efforts NOT to cause hurt, angry feelings do not work. The reason is because the person is searching for compromise. Therefore, accepting what we share is outrightly rejected because it is not what the reader wants to hear. If they are looking for approval of sin, then they reject God's call for repentance. The result of this kind of dialoguing is not always "successful" for those who refuse the gospel message. In their minds, it will be viewed as failure. Let's face it, the disciples, apostles, and even Jesus himself had rejection!

We will most likely continue to appear as antagonists towards them. Sharing "the truth in love" does not appear as love to those who will not accept the truth.

Have you noticed that?

No matter how "loving" one presents the truth, the person sharing can still be regarded as "hateful," "bigoted," "intolerant," and any other negative adjective you could think of.

I think that a big reason this is so is because many do not want to face their own sin, the truth of the Bible and who Jesus is. So, in reality, they are rejecting Him and not really us. We are just the sharers of the gospel message. Whether or not one accepts it is up to God and the unsaved person.

Bill Cosby's quote (above) is half correct for the part where he says, "you can't please everybody" is often very true. If our aim as Christians is to please everybody, then it is likely that this means we would be compromising something in God's Word.

Staying true to God's Word in this life IS success. It's not the success that the world focuses on, but it is the success we want to adhere to while following Jesus Christ.

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