Our culture seems to imply that we must work harder than ever to find ways to say “yes” to the world in order to gain a hearing. And, to a certain extent, this is all well and good. But it lacks an equally compelling “no,” because, if we are not careful, saying “yes” all the time runs the risk of offering nothing to the world that it doesn’t already have, the ability to say “no.”
With this in mind, think back to the life and ministry of Jesus. Amazingly, Jesus was able to say “no” and “yes” consistently. For instance, Jesus was able to stand for moral purity and absolute truth, and yet He was also known as “a friend to sinners.”
One of the most important aspects within the teaching of Jesus is the “You have heard it said…but I tell you” section within the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). In these statements, Jesus took on the easy “yes” that religion was giving to the culture of that day by providing a resounding “no” with an even tighter morality! Therefore, I find it ironic that Christians often feel that we will lose the ear of the world if we stand up to it, when the truth of the matter is that we will lose the ear of the world if we mirror it!
So let me challenge you to say “yes” to people and culture relationally in order to build bridges of identification, but then walk across the bridge with a clear sense of what you must say “no” to as well! Because it is precisely in offering that “no” that you and I can make it clear to the world what Jesus is asking us to say “yes” to.
Devotedly your pastor,