How Cynicism Can Benefit Christianity

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Now is the time for followers of Christ to become the “salt and light” Jesus mentioned in Matthew 5:13-16.

Consider, for example, Hulu’s television series “The Handmaid’s Tale” which won Outstanding Drama Series last Sunday at the Emmy Awards. Although I’ve never watched the show, I’m disturbed by the cruel way it depicts the Christian faith.

Larry W. Poland, in The Washington Times, wrote this description of the hit series:

“In a postnuclear holocaust, an oligarchy of Christian televangelists and other evangelical leaders take over the United States. In a nation in which most women are left infertile by the nuclear fallout, the ‘Commander’ and his comrades implement a reign of terror in which all fertile women are brought at gunpoint into monastery-like enclaves. Once there, the “handmaids” serve as concubines of the oligarchs.”

Hypocrisy in the lives of Christians can create perversions like those demonstrated in “The Handmaid’s Tale,” fostering hostility on the part of those who now consider some Christians a hate group. Whether “The Handmaid’s Tale” is intended to portray a perversion of Christianity, marginalize people of faith, point out hypocrisy, or accomplish something else, I am grieved but not shocked.

However, I see hope.

In today’s cynical culture, opportunities abound for believers to live faith from the inside out – to prove critics wrong. In the first century, against all the odds and with little or no political influence or power, Christianity thrived; it can again today.

How do we do this?

We let our actions speak for our faith.

The apostle James put it this way:

“What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” (James 2:14-17 ESV).

After Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, faith groups provided the bulk of disaster recovery, in coordination with FEMA.

Paul Singer wrote about this in USA Today:

“In a disaster, churches don’t just hold bake sales to raise money or collect clothes to send to victims; faith-based organizations are integral partners in state and federal disaster relief efforts. They have specific roles and a sophisticated communication and coordination network to make sure their efforts don’t overlap or get in each others’ way.”

What a great testimony at this critical time.

In today’s world, Christ followers need to remember, “the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:5). Thankfully, it never will.

Amid cynicism, may followers of Christ become people who let our light shine before others so they may see our good works and give glory to our Father who is in Heaven (Matthew 5:16).

About the Author: cropped-JohnsonLaura_Web_1483lab

Laura is a blogger and Bible study leader who leverages her experience as a former television news reporter, radio show host, and magazine editor to connect the relevance of Scripture to modern issues. She writes regularly about news and faith on her website.

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