Listen more even when you completely disagree with him or her. That’s something that has been on my heart in this season of life. Listen more. Seek to understand. Take it all to Jesus.
“Be in the world and not of the world” is the saying that Christians follow and I think sometimes we misunderstand what that looks like. I know. I’m a naive and a just-married twenty-two-year-old but hear me out. I think sometimes we take that motto and read it as “avoid everything that does not point to Jesus” without trying to understand. In this season of life, I’m learning to listen more, argue less, and understand where people are coming from. My Christian friend, we need to remember that we are in fact still in the world. We are in it but not of it, yet we still must be in it.
Our presuppositions about the world and how it ought to function say a lot more than we fail to realize. I’m learning and continuing to learn that where you start matters. My foundation is in the Bible and everything good that I do is because of Jesus. That matters. If you grew up in a time or culture that taught that your race was superior to others, it would not surprise me if you still followed that assumption. If you grew up in an unfair system, this may still affect you and it matters. If you grew up in a church that only preached the “feel-good” messages, it makes perfect sense that you would walk away from the church the moment you faced hardship. This matters. All of this is a part of who you are. Christians, we are called to love one another and show one another why Jesus is who He claimed to be. When we see the way people see the world, in all of us we see a longing for Jesus, even if we do not realize it.
I’ll admit it’s easier to make assumptions than to try to understand. It’s easy to see a world that increases in ungodly values, compare our city to Corinth during biblical times than to do what Paul did, and spread the gospel anyway. It’s much easier to turn on the news, shake my head, pray for a revival, and to call it a day. I’ll admit that it’s much easier to do that than to try to understand where people are coming from. I’ll admit that it can be incredibly uncomfortable to talk to someone that does not see the world you see it, but get uncomfortable anyway. How can I share the gospel with others if I’m so far removed from the world? If you do not understand the world, how are you supposed to interact with the world? How else will we fulfill the Great Commission?
Listen more. That is what has been on my heart lately. Listen more. Listen to those who do not agree with you. Listen to those that think Christians are a bunch of prideful hypocrites. Listen to the philosophy professors that claim they can disprove the existence of God in three sentences. Listen to what people believe. Understand what they think and where they started. That all matters. Do not be so quick to disregard their opinion just because you don’t worship the same God. Seek to understand. You have to be in this world to understand the world. You have to understand the world to better understand why we need a Savior and His name is Jesus.
The more I understand this world, the more I see its very reason for Jesus. We live in a society that believes truth is relative but unironically claims to know right from wrong. Christians know that Truth has a name and it’s Jesus. We live in a culture that craves the Creator but settles for created things. We are after true freedom when in reality we’re not nearly as free as we think. It is only through Jesus that we can be set free. The longing in your heart to be accepted, loved, cherished, and made worthy will never be fulfilled as long as you seek created things. I have learned this the hard way. I have been stuck in a cycle of addiction to created things. I have tried many things under the sun only to see that my heart, mind, and soul crave Jesus. It craves the Creator yet I settled on created things. Learn from my mistakes. We long for something greater. We long for Jesus, the One who was in the beginning.
The more I understand this world, the more I see spots of the gospel appear. My friend who will protest day and night and do whatever they can to end racism, I see the just God in you. My friend who brings their intelligent and challenging questions about the Christian faith, I smile as you remind me of Thomas the apostle as he was skeptical about Jesus until he saw and touched His physical and resurrected body. My friend who knows that all people are equal and will fight for equal rights, your heart beautifully reflects the biblical moral standard. We treat everyone as equal because God made each one of us in His image. Despite what you stand for, I see people who beautifully and unintentionally go against Darwinism as the moral standard weighs heavy on your hearts. I see your Creator in you. I see the way you are loved unconditionally, created intentionally, and made with purpose.
I need to listen more. Christians, we need to understand the world to try to evangelize the world. I know it’s easy to look at the world and be embarrassed by it. I know it’s easy to look at the world and to judge it. I know it is far easier to remove yourself from the world and stay in your Christian circle. I see the world, and I’m trying to understand it. I see the world, and I see pain and brokenness. I see the world, and I see people who are doing everything under the sun to fulfill things that only God can. You and I both know sex, money, power, love from a spouse, fitness, and anything else created will not fulfill you. There’s always something more to chase. You and I both know we will not be truly satisfied asking created things to fulfill us. You know this. You’ve experienced this. The good news is your story is not over.
We know Truth by name and His name is Jesus. We look to Jesus who can ultimately fulfill our spiritual needs. We look to Jesus and that is why we treat one another with love and kindness. We look to Jesus and see that we are covered in grace. He loves us. He loves us. He loves us. This is why we share the gospel. We are so overwhelmed by the way Jesus loves us that we need to share with everyone how marvelous it feels to be fully known and fully loved. I know it makes more sense to “cancel” someone yet Jesus wants you to run to Him. He will greet you with open arms. You are invited into His family no matter what the world says about you. He loves you. He loves you. He loves you. Cling to Jesus and watch Him change your entire life. In this season of my life, I am learning to better understand the secular worldview. I have even tried it out. Would you perhaps try out mine? Why is it that Jesus is the most influential person in history? He was either a lunatic, liar, or Lord. The only worldview that makes sense is the one that claims Jesus is Lord.
I am learning to be in the world does not mean you have to agree with the world, but it is so important to listen, to understand, and to take it all to Jesus. Because I am in the world, I can see the world. As I see the world, I can understand the world. This is why we share the gospel. As we understand the world, we see that Jesus truly is the only way. Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. I’ve tried out your worldview, could you try out mine? Be far warned, if you let Jesus in, He may just in fact change everything in the most extraordinary way.