I want you to consider this contrast:
- In the book of the Acts Christians were continually harassed, resisted and considered to be troublemakers. And yet never, do we read of other believers immediately questioning whether they have been inappropriate in their behaviour.
- Today we are rarely harassed, resisted and considered to be troublemakers. But when that does happen there are all kinds of suspicions aroused as regards to the approach of the one who has been engaged in preaching, evangelizing or witnessing..
Now there are times when someone crassly provokes a negative reaction from others, through their approach to preaching or engaging with people. And I would not want to condone that.
There does seem to be something wrong though, with our apparent default position in evangelical circles, which is to presume that if we act in a godly way then everybody will be happy with us. This is contrary to scripture and contrary to experience. As Paul says in 2 Timothy 3:12b everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.
The general tenor of the approach of God’s servants in scripture is to focus on boldness rather than sensitivity. Whether it be the prophets of the Old Testament or the apostles of the New there seems to be an awareness that their greatest danger was that of being timid. They were more concerned about this rather than being insensitive. So Paul would say And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains ( Col. 4:3).
Dare I say, finally, that we might even start to be more effective for the Lord when we are more concerned about being bold for Him rather than obsessing about being sensitive.