If you want to get a group of us Christians riled up, just talk about how wretched the outside world is. We’ll pile on like a pack of ravenous wolves to talk about how this place is going to “you-know-where” in a hand-basket. About how when we were kids things were much simpler and sanitary. About all the ways the world system in corrupt and sinful.

All our outrage seems a little illogical. I mean, doesn’t it make sense that the world is… worldly? That people who don’t believe in a personal God or coming judgment act as if there is no God and that they won’t be judged for their decisions by a standard of righteousness? I may believe in such truths, but many don’t, or at least they are suppressing those truths. And if they do deny these beliefs, it is logically consistent for them to act in a sinful, self-absorbed way that takes no thought of a world to come. If I didn’t believe in historic Christian doctrines, surely my life choices would be much different.

As Christians, what should surprise us more than anything about those who do not name the name of Christ (and those who do, for that matter), is not the fact that we sin but the fact that we do anything that appears to be of any redeeming value at all. We should be in awe of the limitless grace that can turn any of our evil, pride-filled actions into good and that keeps us from being consumed for our more frequent sinful actions.

Instead of being outraged by non-Christians who live lives consistent with their non-Christian beliefs, we followers of Christ should be outraged by ourselves and our inconsistency. In his book Crazy Love, Francis Chan opens with the statement, “We all know something’s wrong.” He doesn’t follow with a litany of the ways the world is worldly, but, instead, holds the mirror up to American Christians so we can see what wrong with us. He goes on,

“At first I though it was just me. Then I stood before twenty thousand Christian college students and asked, “How many of you have read the New Testament and wondered if we in the church are missing it?” When almost every hand went up, I felt comforted. At least I’m not crazy.”

The book is filled with too many jaw-dropping quotes to list (and I’m only at chapter 6), but none of them take aim outside the church, because the sin outside the people of God should rarely surprise us, but only grieve us and motivate us to bring them the cure for their sin-sickness. If we’re going to get worked up over something, it should probably be the fact that we as Christians respond to what should be the “life-changing” message of the gospel and the call to follow Jesus with little more than a commitment to go to church and not swear. Again, at least our unbelieving friends live in a way that is consistent with their beliefs.

I’ve got as much to learn as anyone else on this topic. Reading Crazy Love has been a great help, and I commend Francis Chan’s work to all followers of Christ. You can also download the audio version, read by Francis, for free during July at christianaudio.com. For now, let’s not get upset that the world is worldly but that the church is.

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