Engaging Culture

People Don’t Change Because You Get Angry

In the last fifty years, overwhelming change has happened in America, especially when it comes to moral issues. Back when I was a child, prayer in schools was perfectly normal (especially during exams), abortion was clearly wrong, and marriage was a sacred bond between a man and a woman.

Besides the changes themselves, the attitude of the wider culture on those previously held positions has grown remarkably antagonistic. People of faith are made fun of on prime time TV, movies, in the news, and late night talk shows. Those who held the exact same position on marriage as former President Barack Obama during his first presidential campaign, suddenly found themselves out of step and ridiculed as backwards. Even presidential candidate Bernie Sanders said that Christians shouldn’t be allowed to run for office because they’re so “hateful.”

Regardless of your position on these and other issues, such a dramatic shift in such a short time has left many people – particularly in faith communities – wondering what happened. I understand the frustration and even anger from people who’s world has been turned upside down. When Christians are accused of having a mental illness simply because they believe in God, who wouldn’t be upset?

But one important thing to remember is that “anger strategies” in response isn’t the answer. The Bible never calls us to throw our weight around. Our job isn’t to ridicule others – no matter how serious the slight. As Jesus hung on the cross having been unfairly beaten, humiliated, and tortured, he didn’t criticize the Romans, he asked God to forgive them.

For those who struggle with such dramatic moral shifts, it’s important to remember that people don’t change because we get mad or yell at them. If our goal is truly to win the world, it’s time to try something else.

In our new book “The Way Back: How Christians Blew Our Credibility and How We Get It Back” we outline what that “something else” could look like. You can order it here, and I’d be curious about your opinion.

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  1. Good post Phil. As one who lives on the other side of the planet I’m appalled by the the polarisation in US society – at the way people talk to and of one another, particularly on-line. Christians are no better.
    I’m keen to read the book (have ordered it) and eagerly await the audio version.

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