There is so much chatter on the line (another way of saying on the internet–you can thank the movie The Internship) about gay marriage, progressive vs conservative Christianity, women elder/pastor, should women be allowed to preach, and etc…
I’m sure these topics need to be discussed and the conversations need to be had.
But much like the WorldVision incident, the ones who get lost in the shuffle in these debates are the least, the hurting, and the lost.
I am reading a book about Pope Francis, by Michel Cool called, “Francis: New a World Pope.” It’s a quick read, only about 80 pages or so—it’s a short biography about, well, the new Pope. (All Evangelical people can gasp now)
Cool mentions three things Pope Francis would say to parish priests when he would make pastoral visits to them, when he was Archbishop of Argentina:
“His three recommendations: practice mercy, have apostolic courage, and make yourself available to all.”
These are good and wise words for all Christians to hear and practice—practice mercy, have apostolic courage, and make yourself available to all.
No matter what side of the issue(s) you rest your feet on, it would be good for all of us to undertake these three recommendations of Pope Francis, and demonstrate them to our neighbors.
When we do this, we bear authentic witness of Jesus to those who oppose us, to the least, the hurting, and the lost.
Like I said earlier, I am sure the topics I mentioned need to be discussed and debated, but may it never be at the expense of our Christian witness of the exalted Jesus and His work of forgiveness and reconciliation, and those who need to hear the message.
Restoring human dignity is more important than proving someone is wrong.
When our main objective is to prove who is right and who is wrong, we in fact create a kind of Pharisaic system that neglects the people underneath the issues. We can inadvertently drive people away from the message of the gospel and ultimately Jesus. Yes, both progressives and conservatives can become Pharisaic and cause people to stumble and fall.
He has shown you, O man, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8)