@jspare Thought provoking quotes. Here are a few ideas to hopefully bring about further discussion.
How to Avoid Compromise
When I think of this topic I often think of Jesus with the woman at the well. Jesus was so gentle and compassionate to this woman and yet He was absolutely clear that the Jews were the only ones who knew the true God. If we compromise knowledge of the true God our ministry becomes meaningless. We want to help - we want to lead those in distress and poverty of soul to safety - but if we worship false gods to conform to society we can only lead them to death. Salvation is in Christ alone. That does not mean we are not compassionate and gracious - but we must be clear that there is only one place to find life.
John 4:22 - You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews.
Acts 4:12 - Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.
Here is a quote from ‘The Silver Chair’ by C. S. Lewis that I really like:
“Are you not thirsty?" said the Lion.
“I am dying of thirst,” said Jill.
“Then drink,” said the Lion.
“May I — could I — would you mind going away while I do?” said Jill.
The Lion answered this only by a look and a very low growl. And as Jill gazed at its motionless bulk, she realized that she might as well have asked the whole mountain to move aside for her convenience.
The delicious rippling noise of the stream was driving her nearly frantic.
“Will you promise not to — do anything to me, if I do come?” said Jill.
“I make no promise,” said the Lion.
Jill was so thirsty now that, without noticing it, she had come a step nearer.
“Do you eat girls?” she said.
“I have swallowed up girls and boys, women and men, kings and emperors, cities and realms,” said the Lion. It didn’t say this as if it were boasting, nor as if it were sorry, nor as if it were angry. It just said it.
“I daren’t come and drink,” said Jill.
“Then you will die of thirst,” said the Lion.
“Oh dear!” said Jill, coming another step nearer. “I suppose I must go and look for another stream then.”
“There is no other stream,” said the Lion.”
How to Avoid Vilifying
I think the answer here is always that if we really understood the Gospel we could not vilify anyone because we ourselves have been guilty of sin as well. We can stand up against injustice and wickedness, but we would always have an open hand to the repentant sinner because we too were once sinners made saints only by the grace of God in Christ Jesus. To understand the Gospel at this profound level we must do 2 things:
1 - Recognize that we are sinners - deserving of God’s judgment and unworthy of His love - blind, naked and poor. We see a Church in Revelation that had not been able to admit this reality. I think this is often the source of vilifying - when we have justified ourselves in our own eyes through our religious practices or our culture, we then fell justified in condemning others.
Revelation 3:17 - You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.
2 - Realize that God wants us, in all of our wretchedness, to come running home in repentance that He might clothe us in the glory and honor of His Son.
Isaiah 55:1 - Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.
I John 4:19 - We love because he first loved us.
Titus 3:1-8 - Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, 2 to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.
3 At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. 8 This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.