President Obama angered many when he said we were no longer a Christian nation, but his words served as a catalyst for thought: Are we still a Christian nation? The answer? Yes. But we are no longer the majority. For generations, we have been blessed to live in a country where the majority of people at least claimed the same religion as us, and we became blessed. But we also became complacent. We became used to the (false?) idea that those who followed our traditions also shared our faith. We believed our faith would always be accepted, if not revered. We were the majority.
Not anymore. There has been a culture shift, but no one gave Christians the memo. Almost overnight, sins went from “frowned upon” to “publicly celebrated.” Many Christians are walking around, confused and angry, and wanting things to stay the same. It is understandable when an environment changes without warning to have such a response, but we must do it in the right manner. So, how do we live if we are no longer the majority?
Let’s look back to the first century. Here, also, is a time where Christians were not the majority. They stood out. Everything they did differently was noticed and scrutinized. They had it worse, but they also had a platform. Simply by being different, they preached. Their lives alone either spoke of the glory and hope of God or showed confusion and depression. Whatever they did was magnified – simply because they were not the majority.
They also used the law to their advantage. The apostle Paul was both a Christian and Roman and had special protections as a Roman citizen. Many times, he was able to use the law to get out of a bind. He did not abstain from politics, but used it to his advantage to protect his ability to share the Gospel. Many people in the Bible lived in pagan times. It seems the holy people of old espoused the phrase, “We are in the world, but not of it.” Unlike us, they did not expect to be respected or even liked. They even expected persecution.
While it is right to, like Paul, use the law of the land to protect faith and freedoms, it is important to do it in a Christian way. Now, more than ever, we will be “seen” because of our differences. Traditionally, people are leery of “different.” It is imperative that, like the Christians of old, we wear the name of Christ honorably and lovingly. While we should use all the laws available to protect and defend our freedoms, we should not have the expectancy that the outcome will be as it has been. This is an adjustment time. While we may lose many of the niceties we have previously enjoyed, the negatives (being a minority) also come with blessings (being noticed). We should be prepared to let our lights shine like they never have, because they will be noticed as never before. It is a new day. Let’s shine as never before!