In Chapter 7, Dr. Willard begins with a discussion of the role of the Christian. At times we get distracted and forget why we are here; what we are supposed to do.
What is a Christian supposed to do?
Bring light to a dark world.
Dr. Willard is not immune to the problems of this world; he lists them as “incest, atomic warfare, mental illness, poverty and pollution.” The problems are brought about by “confusion, ignorance and perversity.”
Today our ever-connected world of social media keeps us informed to the point that we know a kernel of truth about anything newsworthy that happens, the instant it happens. Social media is instant. Recently the massacre in Paris was reported not only by news media but by victims of the massacre as the massacre was taking place. The problem with all this instant communication is that it does not explain the problems that brought about the news event.
We have bits of information but we don’t have explanation.
This is where the Christian can have an effect. Christians can deal with the unexplained problems because they know who is in control.
Society [especially American society] is analytical. For every cause, there must be an effect. If a plane crashes, Americans have a fit until they know why. If a gunman walks into a school and kills kids, Americans want to know why the heinous act occurred. If gunmen kill innocent Parisians at a theatre, in restaurants, there must be a reason.
Not really…at least not a reason that we can understand.
God can explain all to us because He knows why things happen and as Christians it is our job to be able to live with the powerful events of life, trusting that God is in control.
What could we do if we were friends and family of the Parisian victims? As hard as it is to do, we need to forgive the attackers. This past June 17 in Charleston, South Carolina the family and friends of the victims of the Emmanuel AME shooting showed their Christianity by forgiving Dylann Roof soon after the killings.
Hard to do? You bet it was.
What a Christian should do? You bet it is.
Those people knew their role, to “reveal the basis for God’s redeeming Word and Spirit to an ever larger circle of human beings.”
What have we seen in light of the Paris attacks? Defiance on the part of the French people. Stepped-up air strikes against Isis. Calls for not allowing Syrian refugees to cross borders because terrorists may be in their midst.
These are all reactions from people of this world. They are understandable because there is so much pain right now. Making blanket statements about Muslims is not shining a light in the world. Making blanket statements about Syrian refugees who are fleeing terror in their own country is not shining a light in the world, especially coming from Americans, people who emigrated from other countries.
Our role is to bring light to this situation. Our role is to “hold fast to the word of life” and show that we are “redeemed, shaped and conformed to the likeness of the Son.”
When things go wrong in life, that is the time when the Christian message is delivered the strongest. When things go wrong in life, that is also the time when many Christians fail to send out a message that is consistent with their belief.
And nonbelievers see it.
They ridicule us; they have another reason for not believing in God and a stronger excuse for skipping church.
You want to know your role as a Christian?
Dr. Willard says it so well when he says we work shoulder to shoulder with God. The Christian is the “point of contact between heaven and earth, a kind of Jacob’s ladder by which the angels of God may ascend from and descend into human life.”
What is our role?
Simply to live out what it says in the Bible, being cognizant that how we live speaks louder than anything we can say.
If we do that…
The much needed light will come.