Are You A Bully Or A Bystander For Christ?
Posted in Leadership by Benham Brothers | March 24th, 2019
When we were kids, our dad used to say, “Boys, we are called to walk the narrow road for Christ – and that means there are ditches on both sides.” He learned this lesson well over the years.
So for followers of Christ today, if we are going to get in the game and be a bridge for the Lord, then we’ve got to walk the narrow way that leads to life – not just for our own sake, but for others’ as well.
One thing we’ve found through the years is the way for us to stay on the narrow path is to walk in love. But the ditches of anger and fear are always one step away on either side – especially in today’s polarized and often paralyzed culture.
We’ve discovered that boldness apart from brokenness leads to anger. Yet brokenness apart from boldness leads to fear. To faithfully be a bridge today requires both boldness and brokenness – to have one without the other lands us in a ditch off the path of the narrow way, rendering us ineffective for God.
If we are bold for God’s truth but not broken over our sin, we’ll operate out of a spirit of anger. This makes us bullies, which leaves others disconnected from God – because the truth we’re speaking can’t get past the angry look on our faces.
Boldness apart from brokenness makes a bully. This is what anger produces.
If we’re broken over our sin but not bold for God’s truth, we’ll operate out of a spirit of fear. This makes us bystanders, which also leaves people disconnected from God – because we’re too afraid to share the truth that can set them free.
Brokenness apart from boldness makes a bystander. This is what fear produces.
But if we’re both bold and broken we’ll operate out of a spirit of love. This is what gives us the power to faithfully stand in the gap in today’s culture and bring divine connection to divinely disconnected people.
Boldness and brokenness make us a bridge connecting Heaven to earth for those around us. This is what love produces.
We see this balance played out in the life of Peter, a man who fell into the ditch on both sides of the narrow road but finally found his way back onto the path and was used powerfully by God.
Think of ol’ Pete in the Garden on the night Jesus was betrayed. When he was awakened and saw the mob coming to take Jesus how did he engage?
He boldly grabbed his sword and cut off a man’s ear.
Not good – he was a bully.
But then we see him following Jesus at a distance into the city. His boldness was out the window. And when a young girl claimed he had been with Jesus he denied it three times.
Not good either – he was a bystander.
But thankfully, Jesus didn’t leave him in either ditch but, rather, restored him. And on the day of Pentecost it was Peter who boldly stood to his feet and proclaimed the message of the Gospel to the thousands gathered in Jerusalem, knowing full well it could cost him dearly.
And he did it with a heart full of love for the Savior he had failed but Who forgave him, set him back on his feet, and enlisted him in His kingdom-building effort here on earth.
That day, heaven touched earth for over three thousand people.
This was Peter, the bridge. He was both bold and broken. Operating out of a spirit of love, he was ready to stand. When the crowd showed up, he didn’t run after them or run from them; he stood for them.
This is what walking the narrow road for Christ looks like today. He wants to use us, but we must be both bold and broken to be useful.