Friday, July 22, 2011

Afflicting the Comfortable, Comforting the Afflicted

One of the hardest things a pastor must do is keep reality before the people. It's easy to sugar coat life and to go along with the flow. Going upstream is always difficult. It makes me think of a quote by Walter Hooper in the preface of C.S. Lewis' Business of Heaven. Hooper writes, "There has been in recent years a movement to soft-pedal sin and to loud-pedal love joy, and peace."

One of the privileges and pains of ministry is the need to speak of the dark horrors of reality (sin, death, hell, judgment) and the unimaginable joys possible through faith in Jesus Christ (forgiveness, life, heaven, and peace). To neglect one over the other is to present something other than reality.

In our day, I sense Americans need to be reminded of the dark horrors of reality before they are ready to hear about the unimaginable joys. Those suffering in China, the Middle East, and parts of Africa are probably more in need of the latter--they are quite familiar with dark horrors.

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