Why don’t we just shut up and try to get along?

stoneMy pet rock is failing calculus again this semester. We’re even homeschooling it.

What’s that? Foolishness, you say? It’s stupid trying to teach calculus to a stone? Well, why would I talk myself blue in the face, trying to convince a lost soul about Jesus? Why do some Christians insist on arguing for the sanctity of life and marriage with people who are dead-set on believing otherwise? Why would a pastor plead with dead-religion church members to give themselves wholeheartedly to God’s mission in the world?

Why don’t we quit arguing and just try to get along with others? Like the bumper sticker says, coexist!

Why indeed? Doesn’t Paul tell us that people who don’t have God’s spirit can’t understand spiritual truth anyway? “It all sounds foolish to them because only those who have the Spirit can understand what the Spirit means,” Paul says. Believers can understand spiritual truth because, through God’s spirit, we have the mind of Christ. When someone refuses to acknowledge God for who he is, however, he abandons them to their broken minds.

You’re better off trying to teach calculus to a rock. At least rocks can recognize the Son of God for who he is.

You’ve seen it before. Someone with absolutely no church background readily understands and accepts the truth, while another person who had the benefit of Sunday school teaching and biblical preaching stubbornly insists on believing what he wants to believe.

When God’s spirit is not present and at work, no amount of godly truth (or Facebook comments) will break through. Your friend cannot understand because her mind and heart are broken by sin.

That doesn’t mean you quit trying, however. You just have to recognize that breakthrough is up to the Lord. That’s why Paul told the Corinthian Christians that he came to them in weakness, rather than bringing clever, persuasive speeches. The truth really is quite simple, and people will either accept it or they won’t. Reason and debate are necessary — we must earnestly contend for the truth — but clever, persuasive speech will only get you so far with a stubborn soul. Repentance — a fundamental change of mind — depends on the power of God’s spirit and a person’s willingness to accept the Spirit’s truth.

So why are we still talking when everyone disagrees with us? Why do we keep engaging confused, broken people with the truth about Jesus or crucial issues like the sanctity of life and marriage? Lots of folks would rather we shut up and try to get along. If you keep rocking the boat, they warn, you might get thrown overboard.

We keep speaking up because the Kingdom is all that matters, and Jesus is the only one who can solve the problems that are dragging us all under.

We keep telling the truth — in words full of love and seasoned with grace — because if we don’t, the rocks will.


About Mark Kelly

Jesus follower, Bible reader, husband/father/son/brother/uncle, rider, hiker, snapshooter
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