Friday, April 27, 2007

Are Deeds Always More Valuable Than Words?


I was listening to a Christian music station this morning. The song from Casting Crowns was just finishing. It was their hit, "If We Are The Body." I really like their music, and was sorry I missed the song. But it made me think when the DJ talked about the song a bit. The DJ said that the song is a wakeup call to the church to pay more attention to people who are hurting in this world, and that we need to reach out to them with deeds more than words. On the surface I would agree with them. But, as is often the case, I pondered whether it was truly an accurate assessment of our role in this world.

There is much that is right about reaching people with the Gospel, and doing so by demonstrating love. But I wonder sometimes if the expectation of Christianity has become oriented around performance rather than the message. I realize in our current day and age, many are looking less at doctrine and more towards experiential aspects of God. But by doing so, it seems our culture is accepting half-baked ideas about God, and outright lies in the name of performing loving actions.

For instance, some people believe that loving someone means never hurting their feelings. Therefore to claim that something may be wrong in their lives is paramount to disobeying God's command to love. This thinking doesn't lead to Christ, but rather mutual feelings of acceptance.

Another problem is that some people liken the Great Commission to arrogance. "How can you go around converting people! That's wrong! What makes you think you have a better truth than anyone else?" This attitude leads to a diminished urgency about the predicament of those who are lost. And those who feel this way may end up seeing the physical needs and lack of comforts as their greatest mission field—yet souls are lost and destroyed without their noticing.

I wonder sometimes if we in the Church have bought into the idea that our being loving is saving people. We often describe it as being Jesus with skin on. But I wonder (out-loud) if we really believe we are that good enough.

In my perspective, I am just not that good. My goodness can not win many people to the Lord. Some may be attracted to Christ because they witness changes in me and the courage that comes by trusting the resurrection of Christ. But in my experience, people who have come to Christ because of me, did so because they see Jesus' work in my messed up soul—not my goodness.