Divisive times

The other day I was thinking about how political a certain issue has become. Why does everything have to be so politicized? Why can’t people respectfully and graciously disagree about something without painting the other person as an enemy?

But you and I don’t have to get sucked in to that approach as if it was the only way to proceed.

In the middle of the first century, Paul wrote: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2).

It was rock-solid wisdom then and it’s rock-solid wisdom now. Just because the “pattern of this world” is often polarizing and soul-sucking that doesn’t mean we have to be.

Instead, we can proceed with humility as truth-telling, love-sharing, life-givers. (The rest of Romans 12 includes powerful wisdom about how that takes shape.)

Missionary Lesslie Newbigin writes: “There is good and bad in every culture and there are developments continually going on in every culture which may be either creative or destructive, either in line with the purpose of God as revealed in Christ for all human beings, or else out of that line. The criteria for making judgments between the one and the other cannot arise from one culture.”

We need to discern between the creative and destructive, between what is in line with God’s will and what isn’t. To do that we need some sort of criteria.

That criteria for us as God’s people, is God’s word.

Truth-telling, love-sharing, life-givers look to God, learn from God, find satisfaction from God, and live accordingly.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world…”

–“How to grow wiser — with thanks to J.I. Packer.” What is wisdom? How do we get it? You can listen to me share three ideas in 7 minutes here.

–“Up!” is published 5 days a week (Monday-Friday) and returns on February 1, 2021.

–Lesslie Newbigin, The Gospel in a Pluralist Society (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdman’s, 1989).

–Bible quotes are from the NIV.

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