In the first century, Christians were revolutionaries in the very finest sense. Jesus said, “I have not come to bring peace, but a sword” (Mt. 10:34), and Paul was accused of having “turned the world upside down” (Ac. 17:6).

Yet today, we Christians often fit so comfortably into our surroundings that we pride ourselves on having no enemies. Ruffling nary a feather, we do the Lord’s work in such a way that no one is seriously challenged or disturbed. Nothing is instigated. Nothing is overthrown. We leave things pretty much as we found them.

Unnecessary controversy is, of course, to be avoided, and therein lies the rub: it takes more wisdom than most of us possess to know when to soothe others and when to disturb them.

But all in all, it seems that we should rock the boat more often than we do. In this fallen world, the status quo is usually something that is not pleasing to God, and we — His countercultural people — need to be the instigators of rebellion against all that is not right, including that which is not right in the lives of those who are nearest and dearest to us.

“Woe to you,” Jesus said, “when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets” (Lk. 6:26).

Gary Henry — +

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