By Leo Hellyer
Living life as a Christian man in 2020 is a very complicated proposition. As men, many of us try to live life in our individual circle of family, co-workers, and friends, and as much as we can, block out the majority of the societal dysfunction that surrounds us. With us being in an election year, all of this dysfunction is magnified exponentially. During an election year, it seems that a lot of the gray areas that blend society together disappear, and all we hear are the extremes our polar opposite political parties present. Regardless of how hard we try to not get drawn into the fray, many times we are there before we know it.
As Christian men we need to be a stabilizing influence in our society. We need to be a breath of fresh air in the din that surrounds us. We need to bring reason to the unreasonable conflict and discourse that is present. As I examined for myself how I should proceed to build up, instead of tear apart, this great nation and our governmental structure that was built upon Christian foundations, I found a book that very eloquently speaks directly to this issue.
I believe that any Christian can benefit from reading this book. Ed Stetzer is a distinguished Christian author who addresses how we are to ‘bring our best’ as we live our lives. The book’s title is very descriptive of its contents: “Christians in the Age of Outrage — How to Bring Our Best When the World Is at Its Worst.” Published in 2018, the book is a great resource for living as a Christian at this time in history.
In the book’s introduction, we read, “This is a book about outrage. It’s an acknowledgement that our world, or at least our part of it, seems awash in anger, division, and hostility. Outrage is all around, so we have to decide how to walk through this. We are living in a day — and this is indeed our moment — when we need to live like Christ, as gospel Christians in the midst of shouting, anger, and hatred. And it’s going to get worse… What do we do when the anger becomes too much? How do we know when righteous anger has made the turn into unbridled outrage? These questions do not have easy answers, but they deserve our consideration if we want to be faithful disciples of Christ.”
Stetzer takes us on a journey of discovery that ends with a lifestyle we are called to live out in all facets of our life, being Christ-like in all we do. Most Christians know that we are to be Christ-like, but doing so, especially while facing emotions, pride, personal attacks, patriotism, etc., becomes very problematic.
Outrage has the tendency to breed more outrage. In his book, Stetzer presents us with alternatives to the outrage. If we will immerse ourselves with Scripture and Christ-like living, we will be able to weather the outrage around us and bring stability back from instability. If we will get to the point in our Christian walk where we live by the Holy Spirit within us, we will be able to respond to the outrage around us in a manner that can extinguish the outrage and ignite a firestorm of love, compassion, consideration, and cooperation.
At the end of the book, Stetzer challenges all of those who read his book by saying, “Put down this book and go into the age of outrage. Leave behind angry nationalism. Leave behind political excuses. Leave behind unloving tribalism. Leave behind prideful Facebook posts and endless arguments… Embrace your responsibility as a missionary of grace to those around you, seeing your local community as a mission field to which God calls His church. You have the Holy Spirit inside you to live on mission. In a world at its worst, live out your calling to be a Christian at your best in the age of outrage.”
This ending is very profound. As Christians, many times we soak up the great teachings, readings, singing, and prayers that we hear, and rejoice within ourselves. However, to be the most effective in our Christian walk, we need to do as Stetzer says — we need to take all that God has given to us and boldly leave the four walls of our churches and homes and enter the age of outrage with godly love.
We have the answers to the shortcomings of the society we live in. We have the power to overcome the divisiveness around us. Societies are not healed by politics and elections. Societies are healed when God-fearing believers get up, get out, and become soldiers of the Lord in the battle for the souls of the people. As Christians, we are ineffective until we hit the streets and share the truth, power, and love of Christ. This is what it looks like to Bring Our Best When The World Is At Its Worst. God bless you as you put feet to your faith.
Leo Hellyer is a non-staff pastor with a local church and has been married to his wife Norma for more than 45 years. The couple volunteered with the Boise FamilyLife Ministry Team for 20 years. They are both employed by Boise Rescue Mission Ministries, Norma at City Light Home for Women & Children and Leo at River of Life Rescue Mission. Leo is also the President and Chief Firearms Instructor with Helping Hands Firearms Training LLC. If you have questions about Real Man’s Toolbox, or need other assistance, Leo may be reached at [email protected] or 208-340-5544.