It seems a poor fellow’s vehicle had conked out on the side of the road. He finally convinced a speeding motorist to stop and help. “If you could just push my car at a speed of 40 miles per hour,” the stranded motorist said to his newly arrived partner, “I’m convinced it will start.”
Sliding back behind the wheel of his car, the driver was relieved. All his worries behind him. Sadly, that exactly where his worries were: right behind him.
As he waited for that gentle nudge on the rear bumper that would move him down the road, he saw his rescuer in the rearview mirror. He was a quarter of a mile away and bearing down on the broken down car at 40 miles per hour — just as he had been instructed.
In these harrowing days when fewer and fewer people seem to stop and listen to what we Christians have to say, we sometimes think the answer is to scream louder. Picket signs. Boycotts. Petitions. Displays of righteous indignation accompanied by red faces and bulging carotids. The result is indeed clearer communication. It’s clear that we are mad as hell about something.
Without a doubt most Christians want to see healthy, serious change in the world. I do as well. But the solution is not to meet what we regard as societal inadequacies with the equal inadequacies of being judgmental, taking revenge, waging cultural warfare, and condemning every person who doesn’t agree with us.
If, in our passion to communicate something we feel very strongly about, said communication becomes hateful, as Christians we have betrayed our message. The path of Christ is to love those whom we consider our opponents. The way of Jesus is to engage and pray for our enemies, not to kill them. And don’t be fooled; our words can be as murderous (or more so) than flying bullets and hand grenades.
So, if you are one who loves a good boycott, why not take a different tactic: a little grace, a truce, a lowering of the weapons might be a necessary change of pace. And if you have been on the receiving end of a few displays of virtuous disapproval, cut some slack for your accusers, as well. We’re all just trying to get the car rolling again, but without clear and compassionate communication, it is nothing but a wreck waiting to happen.
Ronnie McBrayer is a syndicated columnist, pastor and author. His newest book is “The Gospel According to Waffle House.” You can read more at www.ronniemcbrayer.me/.