Every once in a while I get a “Forwarded” email with a bunch of people listed in the “TO” address box. Sometimes there are two or three “forwards” in the email. These emails are telling me things like: I should boycott Wal-Mart because they contribute to the Gay & Lesbian Foundation, march on city hall with other Christians to prevent a gay parade or write a letter to my Congressman telling to vote against the evils of same-sex marriage. I appreciate my Brothers in their passion for their beliefs. I also have those same beliefs. However, there is a very old proverb that goes like this: “Discretion is the better part of valor.” Most people know this one. I would bet that you have heard it too, haven’t you. It has taken me years to learn the wisdom behind the simple words.
The workplace, like our family, needs to be approached carefully and with much prayer and discretion. I personally have in my family a cousin who was married and has a son who is now activist lesbian and well known in the NYC theater community. I also have a brother-in-law that became a sister-in-law and then a few years later committed suicide…he also was married with children. Sin is prevelant in the world. Lust, adultery, stealing, murder, lying, and cheating are alive and well on planet earth. Sin is sin and is not ranked in God’s eyes. He is the judge and not us.
So what is my beef? Email is so indiscriminate and so non-relational. What if I sent a ‘blast’ email to one of those contacts in my address book and did not know that he or she was struggling with the sin that I was railing against? Where do you suppose I would be as an ambassador of Christ if I sent one of my friends an email that contained material railing against some particular sin…usually a sin that I think is more heinous before God than others? Do you think that I would gain their attention so they would hear the Good News “…that God so loved the world…?” Do you really think that they would be receptive to hearing about Jesus and the redeeming life that He offers … everyone? It is this kind of knee-jerk-in-your-face reaction from the Christian community that sets off hatred and hearts to harden toward the Gospel. Emails of that nature tell me that the person is taking the easy path.
Christians down through the ages create havoc and animosity because they fail to pay attention to Jesus’ words and actions before taking action themselves. Jesus never…let me say that again…Jesus never said to condemn the world for their lifestyle. Never! Listen to what Paul wrote to the troublesome church in Corinth:
“I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people — not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat. What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside.” [1Cor 5:9-13]
I know Christian Friend, that your heart was in the right place when you reacted and sent me that blast email to all of your Christian friends. I appreciate your personal beliefs. All people are created in the image of God. Would it not be more effective if we were to spend our time building redeeming relationships? It is harder work, requires more time and can be costly in pain. Another old proverb says: “We will attract more flies with honey than with vinegar.” We are saved by grace…nothing more and nothing less. We are all fallen people. God does not rank sin like we do. Jesus made that crystal clear.
Learn the wisdom of “Discretion is the better part of valor.”