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Christians and Controversy

Christians and Controversy

Following Jesus' example to put prayer and relationships before confrontation
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In a world full of social media, we can broadcast our beliefs with the click of a button. While the secular world is apt to convey their opinions of social issues without hesitation, the question is raised: How should Christians respond to controversial issues? Do we express our beliefs openly, posting our feelings about abortion and marriage on Facebook walls and blogs, or do we remain silent? In a time where controversy is king, the secular world is watching at how Christians respond. In battling with the decision on how to handle controversy, we should look at the ultimate example on how to respond: Jesus.

Jesus never directly confronted political or divisive issues. The Pharisees constantly tried to trap Jesus by forcing him to give an opinion on contentious topics (Matthew 17:24:-27; 19:1-12; 22:15-22). His responses were earnest, yet brief. Jesus did not come into the world to debate the world, but to save the world. Therefore, his ministry centered on the person rather than the issue. Regarding social issues, Jesus' philosophy was to "love the sinner, hate the sin." He was notorious for dining with "sinners," tax collectors, and other "social misfits" because his concern was for their well-being rather than making a statement.

An Example of Controversy

One of the greatest examples of Jesus' philosophy regarding controversy can be found in Luke 5. Jesus calls Levi the tax collector to be his disciple. At that time, a tax collector was one of the most hated people in Judea because they exploited their neighbors for personal gain. However, Jesus approached him and told him to follow. The publican got up, left everything, and followed Jesus.
I personally would have loved to witness the exchange between Jesus and Levi. The only words recorded in the call of Levi are: "Follow Me." It appears this is the first exchange that the two men had ever had (though I would conjecture that the publican had seen the miracles Jesus had been performing in Capernaum and recognized he was different from other Rabbis). The fact that Jesus approached Levi, spoke to him, and wanted him to be a disciple deeply impacted him. The tax collector was forever changed.

We then immediately see Levi respond with hospitality. Not only does he host his new teacher in his own home, but he begins to reach out to others who need Jesus. This is the first "evangelism meeting" recorded in Scripture (Luke 5:29). Levi understands Jesus' approach and begins to embrace it as his own.

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Displaying 1–3 of 4 comments

Cortney Whiting

July 29, 2013  8:04pm

I would like to clarify my quote that seems to be misconstrued. Jesus was non-confrontational on POLITICAL and DIVISIVE issues. He was VERY direct when it came to religious and moral issues. In fact, if you look in Matthew 18-19 , Jesus DIRECTLY teaches on the moral issues of sin in the church and divorce. However, these are issues related to the Law. The problems the disciples had in Luke 9 are similar. They thought Jesus as Messiah was going to establish a physical political kingdom rather than a spiritual one. That is why they were arguing about who would be greatest. The point of the article was to argue that though Jesus taught spiritual absolute truths, he did not implement them through a divine dictatorship. Rather, he emptied Himeself of his divine right and took the form of a servant (Phil. 2). As Christians, we often "lord" our beliefs over others. Jesus prioritized His teaching with the Kingdom being first and politics dead last. We should do the same.

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Mia Ormonde

July 22, 2013  7:57pm

I don't think Jesus would encourage us to be passive about political issues. I agree with YMoore. Being an agreeable and non-confrontational person is not my thing... Nor do I think it was Jesus' thing

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Marcia

July 06, 2013  7:37am

I really enjoyed this article. While I thought the same as the previous commenter about Jesus' approach, that was only one time. It was as you said how Jesus normally behaved among and toward sinners. Great reminder about being salt and light..it's getting lost among this false gospel being preached in America. Thank you!

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