Thursday, October 18, 2007

Ambassadors in chains

Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the good news, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly as I should. (Eph. 6:19-20)
It's hard to watch people turn against you. It's hard to watch people being unreasonable or unjust. The early church had a lot of practice with that, being slandered and opposed at every turn. The unjust treatment we Christians have today from an ever-growing crowd of ever-more-hostile opponents could grind anyone's nerves: the mockery, the snideness, the arrogance, the complete unwillingness to engage in serious discussion but only in ridicule.

How do we respond? We can return the favor: repay mockery and contempt with more mockery and contempt, repay media bias here with media bias there. Sometimes we do, to our shame and discredit. Are we willing to be ambassadors in chains? Are we willing to rebuke or even be slandered rather than repay evil for evil? Much has been said of the current culture war. All I know is this: if the problem is the prevalence of evil, then repaying evil with more evil compounds the problem and guarantees a loss. If we repay evil for evil, we're fighting against ourselves.

As for those who mock us, their conscience may or may not be troubled by harrassing people who are kind. But they probably won't be bothered by harrassing people who are hateful towards them.

If we are no different, we've already failed as witnesses, as ambassadors of a kingdom where the laws are both more just and more merciful, as followers of a different ruler than the ruler of this world.

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