Greg Garner on How to Engage the Lost in the Midst of Tragedy

I have opinions.  Strong ones.  I prefer college football over the NFL.  I like Italian over Greek, Jif All-Natural Peanut Butter over Peter Pan, and Ford trucks over Dodges.  I don’t care what a Kardashian wears… ever; or what a British royal family member names their kid.  I vote and I am concerned about the direction of our country.  My heart breaks at the news of El Paso and Dayton, Ohio.

Tragically, my opinions cloud my judgment.  They can and do become myopic lenses through which I view or interpret life, culture, and politics.  How should the Church respond to a tragedy that teeters on the edge of a politicized issue?  Especially one that involves a loss of life and the subsequent rooting around in another’s deeply held beliefs.

It is easy to get sucked into a cultural eddy of talking-heads, politicians and social media warriors who may or may not have ulterior motives.  It is natural to want to pull out the knives, sharpen the blade and then make a point, to be right.  It is easy to embrace a “we” versus “them” mentality.

Jesus prayed, “I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one” John 17:15.  This was not God’s permission to withdraw from the lostness of our neighbors; but rather an invitation to engage in their brokenness.  “As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world” John 17:18.

And it begs an important question, “How should I engage the lost without getting lost, even when all seems lost?”

I want to begin with a reminder from the Apostle Paul.

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”  Ephesian 6:12

Now I would like for you to ask yourself…

1.  Am I fighting the wrong enemy?

Despite this cautionary reminder we still find ourselves in a cage match with someone else.  Unfortunately, I am woefully prideful and tend to firmly grasp earthly ideologies that hinder eternal relationships.  I forget that I am an “ambassador for Christ” (2 Cor. 5:20) not an apologist for Greg’s tiny fiefdom.  I often wonder why Christians get all bent out of shape when a non-Christian behaves like a non-Christian.  My behavior was (and still is on occasions) not very Christ-like.  In fact, according to Jesus in John 3:18 I did not become more sinful as the years went by, I was born dead in them.  That is our common ancestry.  Most of the time, my enemy is not the other person, but Satan and the stranglehold he has on an unredeemed life.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Greg Garner