These days, being polite is a big deal. After all, no one wants to hurt anybody’s feelings. Everyone just wants to get along, or something like that. Unfortunately, this attitude has invaded church pulpits across the United States.
Recently, research guru George Barna discovered that most conservative pastors in the US aren’t interested in rocking the boat. Apparently, “Many theologically conservative pastors agree the Bible speaks to key issues of the day, but research indicates only a handful of them say they will speak to it.” Call me crazy, but every now and then, it’s good to have a little holy boldness. Certainly, Jesus thought so.
Indeed, Jesus frequently spoke about the issues of His day, and He didn’t pull punches. For example, in Mark 12:14-15, Jesus was asked “Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? Shall we pay, or shall we not pay?” He didn’t duck the question. He responded “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Mark 12:17). Although most people wish He gave a different answer, He at least gave an answer.
Likewise, in Matthew 19:3, Jesus was asked “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?” He said “what God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matthew 19:6). This didn’t satisfy the Pharisees, who responded “Why then did Moses command to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?” (Matthew 19:7) Jesus answered “Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery” (Matthew 19:8-9). That’s not exactly what they wanted to hear, and it definitely flies in the face of popular opinion to this day.
Ultimately, you’re either for Jesus or against Him (Matthew 12:30). If pastors don’t deal with the significant issues of our day, churchgoers will accept what the world says about them. Silence on homosexuality, fornication, pornography and other sins will be interpreted as support, and supporting sinful behavior leads people trapped in lifestyles of sin away from Christ. Isn’t the truth of the Gospel more important than a preferential tax status? Jesus never backed down from causing a commotion, and He wasn’t interested in cutting deals. Just ask those moneychangers (Matthew 21:12-13).
The Bible says “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin” (James 4:17). It’s time to stop making everyone happy. It’s time for some holy boldness.