SPRINGFIELD, MO. — As a university
journalism student, my first writing assignment for the school’s newspaper
led me to interview the president of the gay student union. The interview
flowed perfectly until he asked, “Where do you stand on gay rights?”
I attempted to dodge the question:
“Journalists aren’t supposed to have opinions — we’re
just here to report the news,” I said sarcastically.
“Seriously, I gave you my
views — let me hear yours,” he replied.
At that moment, a debate was the
last thing I wanted. I intended to grab a few quotes, make a hasty exit, and
knock out a story before my deadline. But, regardless of my discomfort, I
had this overwhelming sense that I was exactly where Jesus wanted me. So,
for two hours we discussed the issue of gay rights without a hint of hostility
or disrespect. Soon I found myself looking beyond his lifestyle to see a young
man who simply needed answers from the Savior.
The discussion left a lasting impression
on me, because that day I realized I had been infected with a spirit of fear.
I was afraid of the culture, afraid of sinners. I had embraced a false definition
of holiness — one that made it acceptable to isolate myself from people
Jesus wanted to reach. In other words, I was running from evil and retreating
from unbelievers at the same time.
Likewise, some believers today
have taken separation from the world to an extreme. They mistake sanitized
isolation for holiness. Jesus, on the other hand, was willing to go anywhere
and to talk to anyone, because He was more concerned with His mission than
He was His image. He wasn’t afraid of thieves, nor mortified by the
sight of prostitutes. He engaged the culture without fear. Today He asks His
followers, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to do no less.
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