Are You Accepted as One of Them?

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Not four minutes ago I finished a fascinating conversation with a speaker from Encountering the World of Islam. The questioned he posed was this: Thinking of Christ becoming man so He could reach us, how are we reaching out to communities in such a way that we are accepted as belonging in that group? And after we accomplish that, what's the first thing we should tell them about the Gospel that would be good news to them?

If I could whistle, I would have. That's a question!

He smiled. Then he pushed it over the edge. "Now, what if I gave you a group? Say, homosexuals or women not remorseful of their abortion." Inwardly, I cringed. I could see a bunch of people taking umbrage with such a suggestion! Some would say, to some extent or another, that we should never be caught identifying with such people. To do so would be to approve of their actions. Others would take offense at the notion that such actions are wrong in the first place. How dare you imply that such things are somehow evil!

The difficulty is obvious, no? On one hand we can't justify taking on the form of a "sinner" to reach out to them. On the other, we are so bruised from bad encounters that we'd never accept someone so "hateful" into our midst.

And not that everyone loved Christ when He was here either. He was crucified, for crying out loud! But, still... He became sin for us so that we could be made righteous. This brings a new depth to the passage about becoming all things to all men for the sake of the Gospel.

Hudson Taylor--whom you meet in Core F--is a fantastic example of this. He, in many ways, revolutionized missions. And, perhaps, it's time for someone to step up and do it again.

If I were to take an initial stab at addressing this question in my own life, it would be this: Brittany and I reach out to high school/college aged kids. We watch movies with them and hang out. Brittany cooks with them and makes costumes. We go to their events and shows. We just try to be there with them. And when God opens the door, we share that when life is out of control, God is still there ready to redeem the horrible situations they can find themselves in. And we remind them, in word and deed, that they are loved.

How about you?

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Empty Nester

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