Show Countercultural Compassion in the World

Church Matters, Devotion, Pastor's Life, Perspectives

As I examine my own life, I think about the temptation we all face to brandish God’s Word like it’s a weapon in our cultural battles. What is our posture toward those who may not be Christians or may hold opinions very different from ours? Many people have had negative interactions with Christians or gotten a negative impression of the church. They might include more liberal members of school boards, abortion rights activists, Muslims or others from different religions, members of the LGBTQ community, or members of the opposing political party who differ from you on just about every possible position. And I could list many others. It’s time we show countercultural compassion to those who don’t agree with us. It’s time we show them that the Word of God is not a weapon we wield against them but rather words that move us to show love and kindness to them.

Toward this end, I want to encourage you to do three specific things in relationship with at least one person who might expect Christians to be hostile toward them:

  1. Share life. Get to know them on a personal level, genuinely becoming a good friend to them. Listen to their struggles. Learn about their perspective. Seek to understand their story. Assume the best about them. Along the way, to the extent to which they are open, share your life with them in similar ways.
  2. Show compassion. Go out of your way to care well for them. Not with any other motive than to be a reflection of God’s love in their life. Just as Jesus taught us, love them as yourself.
  3. Speak the gospel to them out of genuine love for them. As a reminder, here is a summary of the gospel:

The gospel is the good news that the just and gracious Creator of the universe has looked on hopelessly sinful men and women and has sent his Son, Jesus, God in the flesh, to bear his judgment against sin on the cross and to show his power over sin in his resurrection so that anyone in any nation who turns from their sin and themselves and trusts in Jesus as Savior and Lord can be forgiven of their sin and reconciled to God for all of eternity.

Speak this truth at some point in your relationship with them.

Pray that their eyes would be opened to the truth and beauty of Jesus and his love for them, and pray for an opportunity to lead them to life in him.

Share life, show compassion, and speak the gospel.

Allow these actions to become a pattern in your everyday interactions and relationships with others who might have misconceptions about Jesus because of their interactions with Christians. Do all these things with steadfast conviction grounded in God’s Word coupled with kindness and compassion toward everyone (yes, everyone) in the world.

Adapted from Don’t Hold Back: Leaving Behind the American Gospel to Follow Jesus Fully by David Platt. Copyright © 2023 David Platt. Published by Multnomah, an imprint of Penguin Random House. Used with permission.

David Platt is the author of the new book Don’t Hold Back: Leaving Behind the American Gospel to Follow Jesus Fully (Multnomah, 2/28/23) and three New York Times bestsellers, including Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream. He is a pastor in metro Washington, D.C., and founder of Radical Inc., an organization that equips Christians to be on mission from where they live to the ends of the earth. Platt received his master of divinity (MDiv), master of theology (ThM), and doctor of philosophy (PhD) from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

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