Devotional for Friday June 19th

Good Morning Everyone,
Our theme for this month: “Think for yourself”
Our Bible verse for today: “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so you may know how you should answer each person.” Colossians 4:6 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “Don’t be a jerk for Jesus”
Yesterday I wrote about the “silent majority” of Christians who remain silent when they should speak up, and who are unengaged when they should be doing something. I said that many of them are effectively AWOL (Absent Without Leave), rather than being where they should be and doing what they should do. And I said that one reason for their absence was that it’s easier to remain silent and unengaged rather than speaking up and doing something.
But there’s another reason Christians remain silent and unengaged, and it’s because the public arena has become so toxic and divisive when it comes to the major issues of our day and they don’t want to get swept up in that. They don’t want to become just another angry and combative voice in an already too angry and too combative society.
I’m with you. Neither do I. I want to be helpful rather than hurtful, shining light rather than adding to the darkness. But it’s hard. It’s so easy to just add to the overheated rhetoric. Pastor Eugene Cho wrote about this dilemma in his book “Thou Shalt Not Be A Jerk: A Christian’s Guide to Politics”. He writes:
“So many of us are wondering how we can be faithful to Christ, remain engaged, and maintain our integrity. In other words, how can we continue to be Christlike in the chaos and craziness of our political climate?”
Pastor Cho goes on to caution us not to be “a jerk for Jesus”. A jerk for Jesus is someone who is harsh and unnecessarily provocative in the way that they promote their beliefs, and they believe they’re doing it as an act of ministry. They’re being a jerk, and they think they’re doing it for Jesus. Don’t be that guy.
In Colossians 4:6 the Apostle Paul encouraged us to make sure our speech is always kind and gracious, seasoned with the appropriate amount of salt (truth), but gracious in content and tone. That right there is our answer. It is possible to confront falsehood with truth and to do it in a kind, respectful, gracious manner. That was exactly the point Chuck Colson was making in his book “The Sky is not Falling”, which I quoted from several days ago. It is possible to speak Gospel truth; it is possible to be actively engaged in the important issues of our day; and it is even possible to offer critical commentary about things we disagree with (the election of Barak Obama for instance); without using overheated rhetoric or unkind words.
Paul had it right when he cautioned us to make sure our manner and tone of speech is kind, respectful and gracious. By all means, speak up and be involved. But don’t be a jerk for Jesus.
God Bless,
Pastor Jim
Copyright © 2020 Oak Hill Baptist Church, All rights reserved.

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