Don’t panic over Target.

This is essentially a reposting of an article I wrote last June when the Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage. Now, the issue of restrooms and transgenders has bubbled — no, boiled — to the surface.

As I’ve said before, I try only to pay attention to the tweets and posts that challenge us to show Christ’s love to a world in desperate need of His grace. I tend to gloss over those that refer to court rulings and corporate decisions as the death knell of society as we know it. I don’t think we need to panic.

In fact, Christians in America have good reasons NOT to panic  — the sovereignty of God chief among them. He knew this was coming. We knew this was coming. As “sojourners” through these turbulent times, we do not rely on government or corporations but on the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Ultimately His love wins.

So instead of panicking, what can you do? Here are three suggestions:

  1. Pray. To paraphrase Francis Chan from his book, Crazy Love, I can’t make anybody fall in love with Jesus, but I can get on my knees and pray on their behalf. Pray that those who don’t know Christ will  “grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and (will) know this love that surpasses knowledge” — that they “may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 4:14-21, NIV).
  2. Plead. In the red-light districts of Thailand, I learned that my job, first and foremost, is to be a messenger of reconciliation — not a judge but an ambassador for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20). As Paul said, “we plead on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God” (HCSB). Until Jesus comes again, the message of reconciliation is my responsibility to share with all who don’t yet know His grace. The best way to do this, in my humble opinion, is not through boycotts and Facebook rants but by meeting people where they are, allowing God’s love to bridge that impossible gap.
  3. Settle down. While this world is not our home, this country and this community are the places God has chosen for me to live during this season of my life. Through the prophet Jeremiah, God told the exiles in Babylon, “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. … Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city … because if it prospers, you too will prosper” (Jeremiah 29:4-7, NIV). Jeremiah told the exiles to settle in and settle down — to live among the pagans where God had placed them. When we do this, we’ll find lots more opportunities to make  Christ known in the quiet, day-to-day than we ever expected. Nothing about court rulings or corporate decisions will change that.

So don’t panic. Pray. Plead. Settle down. Trust that God, in His Sovereignty, will continue to work through you and through His church to make His name known.

How will you be a messenger of reconciliation for the sake of the gospel this week?
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