I’m learning more and more that my relationship with God does not have to be fueled by a fear that motivates me to compare, judge, and avoid people who are far from God. As I learn to embrace more deeply the Gospels, I’ve discovered that Jesus was, in fact, not intentionally trying to tick off the religious leaders of the day. He was actually showing us, through the rhythm of His life, that there was a new way to engage the culture around us. That we—His followers—could become agents of restoration and grace.
I love the story of Gabe and Rebekah Lyons. Over a decade ago Rebekah gave birth to the couple’s first child, a son. Six hours after he was born, doctors told Gabe and Rebekah that Cade had Down syndrome.
As Gabe sought to understand more about his son’s condition he shockingly discovered that ninety-percent of children diagnosed with Down syndrome during pregnancy were aborted.
Heart broken, convicted, and compelled to do something about this sad reality, Gabe first thought that his only option was to get involved politically. At first, he thought that would probably amount to little more than signing a few petitions and putting a pro-life bumper sticker on his vehicle.
As opposed to simply attacking parents who chose abortion or the issue of abortion itself, Gabe and Rebekah were inspired to do something different. What if we could help convince people that Down sydrome kids are not a burden but a gift, thought Gabe. With that goal in mind, Gabe and his wife created a campaign geared toward doctors who communicated the Down syndrome diagnosis to expecting parents. They created a brochure full of beautiful pictures of Down syndrome kids participating in life to give to doctors an effective tool in explaining the reality of Down syndrome kids and the life they will live.
Instead of just judging people who considered abortion, they sought to educate them and restore them.
Gabe recently wrote a book entitled The Next Christians: Seven Ways You Can Live the Gospel and Restore the World, in which he writes about a group of Christians rising up who aren’t offended by the sin and corruption they encounter in the world, but rather, they are provoked to engage it. And often when they do, they don’t critique the situation, they roll up their sleeves and get busy using their talent and treasure to solve issues in ways similarly to how he and his wife did.
I love this idea. This is what God intended. This is the life Jesus taught us to live, a life full of meaning and purpose. And existence that engages the space between with passion and hope and love and refuses to simply sit around twiddling our thumbs waiting for eternity.
Jesus modeled for us a rhythm of life that compels us to become engaged with the culture around us. He wants us to follow Him not out of fear and arrogance, but instead, a life rich with humility and brokenness and compassion, an existence that promotes peace, reconciliation, and mercy.
What do you think about this new way?