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Good Controversy

“The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.” John 8:3-6a


Christ was controversial. The ultra conservative Pharisees were jealous of the large number of His disciples and His teachings on forgiveness. And the extreme liberal Sadducees were angry with Him for His belief in the resurrection. Today the same is true: some are endeared by the mention of Jesus’ name, while others are enraged. Ultra conservatives focus on truth and obedience—extreme liberals stress love and grace. 

However, it is out of good controversy that we grow in grace and truth. When the categories of our belief system are challenged and stretched a bit, it causes us to go to God for wisdom. Yes, culture’s pull is toward compromising Christ’s principles, which is not an option for genuine believers. Likewise, the tension of being in the minority view is no reason to fight back with angry political maneuvering or with fear-based false accusations. Christ thrives in controversy, when truth and grace jointly win.

“But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless.” Titus 3:9

Foolish controversies are unproductive and unprofitable. When we follow Jesus’ example and showing grace in the face of religious condemnation, we hold high truth in the face of polluted faith. Do some friends speak condescendingly toward your spiritual priorities? Are others indifferent to your commitment to Christ? Do some church acquaintances question your investment in the lives of those away from the Lord? These judgments will follow Jesus followers.

The goal of good controversy is not for you to win the debate—but, it is for you to represent the heart of Christ. Your accusers may not agree with your theological emphasis, but they can and must respect your humble attitude that accompanies your bold beliefs. Brothers and sisters in the Lord discuss their differences in private, not in a public display of intellectual snobbery. Good controversy clarifies privately, but loves publically.

“Everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35

Prayer: Heavenly Father, who can I encourage, who is in a controversial circumstance.

Related Readings: John 13:1; Acts 15:1-41; 1 Timothy 6:4

Post/Tweet this today: Christ thrives in controversy, when truth and grace jointly win.

Wisdomhunters.com is dedicated to Applying Unchanging Truth to a Changing World.



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