Should Christians be speaking out more strongly against what’s wrong?

So there you are sitting with several family members at the dining room table, and the conversation is either superficial and rather pointless, or it becomes combative and ugly. Maybe there’s a homosexual in the family who demands that everyone accepts his homosexuality as normal, or a feminist who defends her right to have an abortion, or an alcoholic in the family who always tries to stir up a verbal fight on highly controversial subjects. And you sit there as a Christian, squirming, and wondering if God wants you to say something.

Or should you just stay out of it and listen? Is that what Christians do, just listen as someone rattles away on some boring subject, or expresses opinions that are just plain wrong? But what if there’s an atheist in the family who constantly takes stabs at God and scoffs at Jesus? Now what? Does the Christian just sit there and take it, and not make a scene?

Extend that out to society in general and the outrageous statements people make about God, and the attempts people are making to squash Christian practice and belief, and accuse Christians of hate crimes whenever they disagree with the prevailing culture. Should Christians be door mats and let themselves be trodden on, or is it their responsibility to point out where people are wrong, like John the Baptist who didn’t hold back one bit when telling King Herod he was wrong?

Paul’s answer in 1 Corinthians 5:12-13 was: “I’m not responsible for what people outside the church say and do…God will judge them.” It’s not my responsibility, therefore, to correct non-Christians if they’re morally wrong or they’re speaking against God. But should I avoid them and stay away from family gatherings where nonsense about moral issues and sarcasm about God will be likely?

The trouble with that, Paul says in verse 10, is that we “would have to leave this world entirely.” If we had to avoid mixing with “the immoral, greedy, swindlers, and idolaters in the world” we’d have to get in a rocket and leave the planet. We can’t avoid them. They’re all around us. They’re in our families. They may even be our own children.

Paul’s concern instead in verse 11 was, “you shouldn’t act as if everything is just fine when a friend who claims to be a Christian is promiscuous or crooked, is flip with God or rude to friends, gets drunk or becomes greedy and predatory. You can’t just go along with this, treating it as acceptable behaviour.” There’s no sitting back and saying nothing when a fellow Christian’s behaviour is in the wrong. That’s when we should speak out strongly.

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