I don’t always want to speak to the world—to society, crowds, the general public. Often the desire is to simply meet one person—you know, that special person—and steal away into the night. Or perhaps steal away and get lost in a city, a city where no one knows who you are, and no one cares to wonder what you are doing. It is a romantic fantasy of sorts which quite accurately captures the selfishness of my own heart, because the reality is we would try to lose ourselves only to be found by what we are trying to escape. Stealing away into the night, one finds the night: cold, dark and lonely. Getting lost in a city one finds the city, and a city is none other than a massive confluence of people, that very society, crowd and general public.
But what does selfishness have to do with my fantasy? Well, it comes in my desire to be dumb, to not speak to them. It is easy to pretend I am not them, yet hard to accept my commonality with those I want to escape. If I am a part, then I am responsible; and if I am responsible, then any problem I see in “them” I must confront and strive to fix. Otherwise, I am a traitor and a coward—I have no care whatsoever for the problem I myself have helped to create. So the question arises, is there a problem? (I am here speaking of society at large, people, the economy, nations, relations and all that is human in this world). The answer, of course, is a resounding yes. It is not so much a question to be researched as a fact that is known since childhood, since that first angry push or envious look at another’s success.
We know within our hearts there is a problem, yet as we tread along in this life we often get caught up in the rosy optimism of many around us. Things swarm us and we are charmed by them. News, events, holiday’s, the buzz, buzz, buzzing of all that happens in the world drowns out our understanding of the deep rooted problem. The problem though, when we venture to think of it, sounds too simple, as if it should be much more complex, nuanced, and philosophical. Yet that’s exactly it, we’re afraid of reality being so simple. So then what’s the problem? It is sin. The problem to which every sub-problem boils down is sin. We have “a quarrel with our Maker” as one Christian put it. All those things have distracted us from the terrifying thought, that the Maker… of those things… is the one with whom we have a problem. We have rebelled and he is rightfully angry at us for doing so. We are guilty, and all those things never really fix the guilt.
So there’s a problem, and we perhaps we can muster up the courage to tell others what it is, but isn’t there also a solution? Yes, there is, but wait… The solution may not be so simple to explain, but it is offensive. And boy, do I not want to offend that society, crowd and general public. Otherwise, they might disown me, and worse, call me names. But I then remember my commonality with them. I remember the problem, and if I really believe that Jesus can fix it, how can I be silent? Though they may disown me, by speaking to them, I will prove to be more understanding of their condition than they themselves. For did not Christ do the same? Did he not come only to be rejected, yet he himself knew our need so infinitely more than we ourselves?
Therefore, O General Public, Jesus the Messiah is the answer! Yes, you who read this blog, and those for whom God will open doors to speak, know that Jesus is the answer and he is to be proclaimed!
On point, Tim! Very well put: I personally have a tendency to distance myself from the people in the city/campus/grocery store. Its easier to think of them as them, or “of this world” and that we are not. This kind of approach seems to free me from any responsibility before them.
I think this also has to do with fear of man. I think Christians in particular, and I find this tendency in myself as well, tend to be afraid of people. They see unbelievers that look cool, they’re doing well in life, and they’re dictating ideas and norms of our societies. We see how powerful are the godless people in this world and we don’t dare to offend them with the truth lest they crush us. But we forget that they are actually in trouble, and not us. We are the one’s that have the truth, we have true power, we are “cool”, if you will, because we are fighting for Christ, not for ourselves. And He has already won this struggle.
Glad you were able to kick this off! Keep it up!
Very well put: “If I am a part, then I am responsible; and if I am responsible, then any problem I see in “them” I must confront and strive to fix.”
Thanks Andrew. I’m glad you found this helpful. What you said about silence coming from fear of man is on point. I didn’t touch on it in the post, but it is definitely what causes much of our awkwardness in situations where we have an opportunity to speak. It comes both from fearing men above God and not viewing the world correctly.
I’m also glad I finally started this blog. Thanks for the encouragement!