…live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear. 1 Peter 1:17
Every year my ministry takes a team to South Africa. It is always a Spirit-filled time with old friends and new friends alike.
Over my years of making this trip, I have come to know some things about that country…things about it’s people, it’s society, and its politics. I’m still learning the right questions to ask and the ones not to ask…when to ask them and when not to ask them. In so many ways, it is not unlike here in the U.S. Like here, there is within the church a degree of discontent with the moral and political directions that country seems to be headed.
When our team finds ourselves in those conversations, there is always some “freedom” in being able to say, “We’re not from here.” We can still have an opinion, even a Biblical perspective on the issue, but we are not in any position to impose those opinions on a country where we are only visitors. We have now grasped what it feels like to be “ambassadors for Christ” in a foreign land. We have the freedom (and the responsibility) to speak the truth, but no freedom (nor responsibility) to try to force it or to impose it on anyone. That is not our business.
In the end, the distinction between those two postures can be a thin line. Somehow, being foreigners in that land, it is an easier distinction to grasp. Speak the truth, in love, but do not seek political power to impose that truth on a country where we are mere visitors.