Just over one year ago, Mars Hill Tacoma’s lead pastor, Bubba Jennings, wrote a blog encouraging the church to respond well during a difficult time. Today, Pastor Bubba’s words about giving grace in the middle of opposition are very timely. With his permission, we are reposting his words here.
Don’t be surprised by opposition
Jesus said in John 15:18, “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.” As Christians, we are going to receive opposition for following Jesus and believing every word of the Bible as God’s truth. Opposition should not surprise us as our Savior was hated and condemned. Opposition is part of the Christian life.
Don’t be defined by opposition
We are not a church that defines itself by what we are against. Our identity is in Jesus and we want to be known for what we are for. We are for Jesus. We are for sinners (like us) receiving God’s grace and salvation. We are for people knowing and believing the Bible. We are for real, authentic life change. We are for forgiveness. We are for reconciliation. We are for restoration. And we are for redemption.
Embrace opposition as an opportunity for grace
Some churches take a hard stance (in the name of truth) by fighting against those who oppose them. We are not fighting against anyone, nor will we lash out against anyone with our words or actions. The Bible says our battle is not against flesh and blood, but rather against the spiritual powers that oppose God (Eph. 6:12). And we don’t win the war, Jesus does (Col. 2:13–15).
Our response to human opposition is to stand firm in Christ, hold strong to our biblical convictions, and give grace. We were all once enemies of God, but Jesus died for our sin and rose from the grave to forgive us, made us new, and brought us into the family of God. We represent Jesus and have an opportunity with our words and actions to display his love, grace, and mercy.
I don’t know what God is providentially going to do with all this, but I invite you to join me in prayer. Let’s pray that Jesus would get all the glory. Let’s pray that the good news of the gospel would reach those who don’t yet know Jesus. Let’s pray for God’s grace in all of this. Let’s pray for his empowering strength to endure opposition.
And let’s pray that we all respond with the love of Christ.