Updated: Nov 20, 2022
As a Christ follower we hold true to the teaches of Christ but at the same time live in a culture who has its own ideas and beliefs. Sometimes what we believe to be true in the Kingdom of God isn't culture's idea of truth. How are we as Christ followers to manage this tension between following Christ and living in a culture whose value system is much different? Should we make every effort to implement a Christian agenda? Or should we just blend in to culture?
Over a quarter of a century ago the late apologist and Christian thinker Francis Schaeffer asked the question, "How should we then live?" The relevance of that question has not changed. If anything, it has only become more urgent for believers as we face unprecedented times.
Our pastor shared this story taken from shepherds in Scotland. Years ago shepherds sough a means to keep sheep in a local area. They tried fencing the sheep in but this only caused bigger problems. When the sheep were frightened they would run and often times run into the fence and get hurt, trapped, or at times killed. They finally discovered the secret to keeping sheep in a general area and safe was to dig a well in the middle of the field. The sheep would stay near the well.
Two lessons taken from shepherds in Scotland.
Building fences. Some Christians in holding to the truth of the Gospel build fences between the Kingdom of God and culture. They draw lines. They quote from a prayer of Jesus that we are to be in the world, but not of the world. Their emphases is on being "not of this world". Often times these well meant attempts of separation can do more harm that good. People can get hurt by the judging and criticism of the church. If we claim to be followers of Christ but still convey judgmental, unloving attitudes toward others, our preaching and teaching--no matter how doctrinally orthodox or politically savvy and persuasive--will be ignored or rejected, and is outside God’s way. After all fences are designed to do two things, keep something in, and possibly keep something else out.
A better option would be to dig wells. Instead of building fences what if Christ followers dug wells in the middle of culture and poured the water of Christ in those wells? Jesus stated that he was the living water, and whoever drunk from him would never thirst again. As Christ followers we seek to live as to attract others to Christ. When we dig wells in an unbelieving culture, the Holy Spirit uses our life to draw others by softening their attitude toward God (cf. 1 Peter 2:12).
The Church should be a light for the world in humility, compassion, love, grace, and mercy. The church should be a rescue shelter where the hurting can find love and acceptance, and where the followers of Christ go out into the world demonstrating the character of truth and grace. The point isn’t that we should separate ourselves from culture, but that we should be like Christ in the middle of culture.
"For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, “I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. ' Matthew 25:35