It is common in Christian circles these days to hear people lament the terrible state of the world. There seems to be a common Christian consensus that the world is going to hell in a hand-basket.
Many of the values that we have known and cherished over the years are being questioned, attacked, and overturned. The moral authority and power that we often took for granted seems to have been lost.
I, personally, am not sure if things are as bad as people often seem to sense, but the basic reality is that there are many in the churches who feel like they are often being attacked, and sometimes even feel a sense of persecution. The most common label for all of this is that we are in the midst of a culture war. As I said I am not sure if this sense is accurate or not, but for many it is real.
That, then, raises the question of how Christians should respond to these problems in the world. I want to suggest the following passage to you from Paul’s epistle to the Romans:
“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord. On the contrary: ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:921, NIV)
As I said, I am not sure that the church (at least in America) is being persecuted today, but I am certain it was in the time of Paul. I feel certain that the advice he gave to those first-century Christians is equally appropriate to Christians in the 21st century.
So, read this passage. Think about this passage. And the next time someone challenges your faith or beliefs, consider how you might live out this passage in your own life.