Written By Joel Li, Singapore
Everybody loves a good cause. We all want to fight for something, champion it, believe in it, and convince people of it. You need only to surf the web for a few minutes to stumble across somebody ranting about something or wanting to change how something is being done.
Comedian Trevor Noah had this to say after a 3-year-old remark he made on Twitter caused a Twitterstorm and prompted calls to protect the “victims” of his comment: “We live in a world of faux outrage. It’s hashtag this, hashtag that. There are people who jump onto trends before they even know what the trend is about. People want to be part of the good, but they don’t want to put the work in, so they think, ‘Can’t I just say that I agree?’ Then you have an artificial inflation of what the problem is.”
So, as Christians, should we follow the latest trends and campaigns on social media? Should we join in the “fight”?
Perhaps the best way to answer this is to start by asking the question: What does God have to say?
It is clear from the Bible that all believers are to be the salt and light of the world (Matthew 5:13–16). We are to live lives worthy of God, so that the world may see our good deeds—and thus, the redeeming work of Christ in us—and praise Him. But what does this “good work” encompass? Does it mean that all Christians are obligated to solve the world’s problems? Are we given the task of preserving the collective conscience of society?
While the Bible does not specifically answer this issue, an examination of Christ’s life on earth, His mission, and deeds, may shed some light.
John 3:16 provides a good summary of Jesus’ mission on earth. It says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”.
God did not come as a political figure to solve all the world’s problems. He did not come as the kind of king that the Jews wanted Him to be—to free them from the Roman rulers. Instead, He came and dwelled among us as a lowly carpenter, and His mission was to die for us that we may be saved. Why is this significant?
Theologian W. Ian Thomas notes: “The Lord Jesus Christ refused to be committed to the parochial needs of His own day and generation; He was not committed to the political situation in Palestine, or to the emancipation of the Jewish nation from the Roman yoke! He was not committed to the pressing social problems of His time, nor to one faction as opposed to another, any more than today He is committed to the West against the East, or to the Republicans against the Democrats . . . Christ was not even committed to the needs of a perishing world; He was neither unmindful nor unmoved by all these other issues, but as Perfect Man He was committed to His Father, and for that only to which His Father was committed in Him—exclusively!”
As believers, we have the highest of causes to champion: the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20).
So what does that say about all other social causes? What are Christians supposed to do, especially when friends, family, or even fellow Christians challenge us to solve or get passionate about something, like alleviating world poverty?
While there is nothing wrong with fighting for a cause or seeking to rectify a problem, seeing as we are called to be the salt and light of the world, we should not force our personal conviction on others who do not feel as strongly about it (Romans 12:3-8). Solving the problems of the world isn’t what Christians are ultimately called to do; we are called to point people to God so that they may enjoy a personal relationship with Him.
Bible teacher James A. Fowler said that “the ‘good news’ of Christianity is the living Person of Jesus Christ, rather than a packaged solution to an identifiable social or personal problem.” He went on to say that Jesus “did not come to be a remedy to problems, but to be the Redeemer of mankind.”
So let us take a leaf out of Jesus’ book. If we do feel passionate about something, let’s remember to “do it all for the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31). But above all else, as Christians, our main cause is our Great Commission; it is our lifelong mission and cause to champion.
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