There have been some interesting things going on recently. Many people are excited, talking about revival, and reaching “the lost”. When a bunch of Christians gather, it doesn’t seem odd to celebrate and worship God. But it strikes me that when we start interacting with those who aren’t followers of Christ, it would be naive to expect them to share our enthusiasm. In fact, there are many people who will not feel even neutral, but instead have a negative view of Christians and Christianity.
This makes me think, as a group of Christians becomes more outward focused, one of the first things we should probably do is public, corporate confession and repentance. We must be aware that the church has often been known as having a posture of superiority (“You have nothing to offer us; you simply need to unequivocally accept what we tell you.”), and that the church in our culture is often most known for what we’re against and subsequently who we hurt. While perhaps we and our specific church may not have this posture, it’s generally the extreme voices which make the most noise. Before there can be healing, we must acknowledge the very real and deep hurts many have experienced by people and institutions claiming Christ. And I think we also need to have a posture of humility by being open and listening to ways we—even our own church specifically—have hurt and may be continuing to hurt people. This isn’t to say that every voice out there with a different opinion is right, but, though these may not come up very often, even our church may, in attempt to be right, hold postures which bring hurt to certain people.
Those of us who follow Christ believe in God’s love and goodness with the eyes of faith. We may experience God’s love and be excited by what he is doing. But as we engage with others, I think it could potentially be bad to be naive about the different viewpoints others may hold.