Two Things Only Christians Can Understand
Followers of Jesus should love their culture and the people in it. This doesn’t mean they should endorse much of what takes place in their culture, but should rather seek to interact with a lost world in a way that is winsome and that points to Christ. That is true love—pointing others to Jesus. In order to do this, we must be able to relate to our culture, respect it, and function in it. The Apostle Paul puts it this way: “I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some.” (1 Cor. 9:22)
Paul seemed to have a unique gift when interacting with the cultures God had placed him in. He quotes the poets of the day to the Athenians, conversed with the philosophers that shaped worldviews, and was able to answer the questions of the Corinthians in a biblical and relevant manner. But, even in and after doing all that, Paul was majorly misunderstood by many. They couldn’t understand his preaching, his view of Jesus, or the truths he held concerning life, death, and bodily resurrection. So, although it seems like Paul did well fitting in and loving his culture appropriately, there were some things about him that the people he interacted with could not understand. And so it will be with us.
There will be aspects of our life and faith that will seem like nonsense to those who don't follow Christ.
They will simply not be able to understand why we view certain issues in certain ways. And rather than try to argue with them or spend hours explaining ourselves, I think we must simply be at peace with being misunderstood sometimes. It’s going to happen. We can’t—and shouldn’t—look so much like our fallen culture that we are mistaken as belonging to it above or instead of the Kingdom of God. There are some things only followers of Jesus will understand—here are two of them (although there are many).
His love is not him ‘winking’ at our sin because deep down we are good people who will go to heaven. His love is not a series of mystical coincidences that seem to take place in our lives so whatever situation we are dealing with goes a little smoother. His love is not him turning his head, patting us on the back, and releasing us to live as we please because we are so talented and special. But our culture is quick to view and define God’s love in ways similar to these. And, as a result, they don’t understand what they are missing out on.
Only followers of Jesus know how the love of God rescued them right in the middle of the darkest, most desperate, and broken time of their life. Only Christians know what it is like to be changed from an enemy of God into a child of God—and the power of the love that is able to transform a life in that way. Only Christians know what it is like to be called back into God’s presence after stumbling and sinning yet again. Only Christians know and understand the love that put Jesus on the cross, in their place, for their sins.
The grace of God is responsible for our salvation. God freely gives us what we don’t deserve.
Only Christians know what it is like to approach God with the empty hands of faith and ask him to do what we cannot—save ourselves.
Only Christians know what it is like to be graciously given the righteousness of Jesus. Only Christians understand what it feels like to be given everything when you deserve absolutely nothing.
Ache For Others
If you have truly experienced God’s love and grace, you should ache for others to experience it like you have. Now that your eyes have been opened and you understand what you misunderstood before, you can’t imagine going back to a life without God’s love and grace. As believers, let’s not forget that there are people in our families, at our jobs, and in our community who do not understand God’s love and grace in the way we do. They are missing out on it. And may miss out on it for an eternity. Please do what you can to make sure that doesn’t happen.
Rather than only try to explain God’s love and grace to them, show it.
Love them the way Jesus would and extend grace to them. Share the gospel. Pray that God works in their life so that they will be able to join you in understanding the most precious realities we can experience.