Because Christians are called to engage in the public square, we need to make sure that we are ambassadors. Consider when an ambassador of the United States travels to a foreign country. He or she is very careful to make sure that the best interests of the United States are represented in a way that develops a positive relationship with the assigned country.
That kind of mindset applies to our Christian testimony as well. It is important to make sure that we have our minds on the mission. We keep our target set on leading people towards Jesus Christ and standing for truth in the public square.
However, we also want to be the type of people who develop a positive relationship with those around us. We don’t want to be abrasive; we want to be tactful and generous.
Consider the disciples in Matthew 10. Jesus gives the disciples directions about where they need to be serving after He called them just like our government will appoint an ambassador to a particular nation. However, He then points out the manner in which they should go.
The disciples were not free to act in any way they wanted to. Jesus specifically told them to be both shrewd and innocent.
That seems somewhat contradictory though. In our society, shrewdness and innocence seem to be at odds with each other. We associate shrewdness with lawyers or politicians and innocence with little children.
However, as Christians, apparently we do need to be both, so what do we do when we’re trying to apply this to our interactions in the public square?
Shrewdness implies that we are not going to be run over by the next seemingly clever argument brought out against the truth of Christianity. We need to be informed about and able to defend our faith in the public square.
However, we don’t use dirty tricks to get ahead. We maintain our innocence. We don’t need cheap shots anyway because we know we have the truth on our side.
Manner matters. The way that we engage those around us is not only a good method of persuasion, but it was mandated by Jesus Christ when He sent out His disciples. Let’s try to hold to the same standard.