“We don’t own culture, and we don’t rule it. We serve it with brokenhearted joy and longsuffering mercy, for the good of man and the glory of Jesus Christ.”
I can barely stand listening or watching the news anymore. I try to keep an eternal perspective of events through Scriptures, worship, prayer, and listening to other Christians’ worldview, such as Dr. Albert Mohler’s “The Briefing” podcasts. But, I can relate to a guy who tweeted Dr. Mohler today:
“@albertmohler hey I had to stop listening to the briefing cause I was getting depressed at the state of our culture. Thoughts?”
Dr. Mohler replied:
“Glad to hear from you and hope you keep listening. God is on his throne and we must not despair. God is at work here and now.”
Dr. Mohler’s response and Dr. Piper’s article turn our focus to the Lord…but not entirely away from our culture. Rather, in spite of upside-down world we find ourselves in, we need to view the present culture through the eyes of Jesus—the One who shows mercy, compassion, and gave His life for all, including those who scorned Him most:
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Matthew 9:36
Dr. Piper affirms,
The fact that Christians are exiles on the earth (1 Peter 2:11) does not mean that they don’t care what becomes of culture. But it does mean that they exert their influence as very happy, brokenhearted outsiders.
Why are we brokenhearted, when we’re called to be full of Joy? He continues:
….our joy is a brokenhearted joy because human culture –- in every society –- dishonors Christ, glories in its shame, and is bent on self-destruction.
Along these lines, Wess Stafford of Compassion International, recently spoke about the meaning of “compassion.” In his message, he said that we, like Jesus, are called to be ”weeping warriors.” He derived this term from the Latin and Greek words for compassion. The former is compatior, or with suffering. That’s the weeping part. We weep, groan, and suffer with the decline and sorrows of our present culture.
The Greek word embodies the fervor of emotion that rises up from other’s suffering, begging for change and action. This compassion wants to stand between the woman and those who plan to stone her, to turn over the hypocritical tables in the church, rescue the abused, or find a home for the homeless.
So, with brokenhearted joy, may we walk in awareness of our indebtedness to God’s abundant grace towards ourselves and others; focus on God’s image stamped on every person; place our trust in His ultimate purpose; and make a difference in our world’s changing culture through tears, prayer, and action, for others’ good and God’s glory.
That is a cause worth living and, if need be, dying for.