As a human, fallen under the federal headship of Adam, I, like you, am often tempted to wander as the great hymn writer penned. With this odd cultural circumstance that we find ourselves in it's hard to be both focused and balanced and I often find those types of things out the hard way. In my zeal, like the Apostle Peter, my desire to act and to act on a large scale, in a large way, with a large scope, and sometimes with my sword out, I do damage to the Gospel that I so love and desire to proclaim and live out. I'm sure there have been many a ear that my zeal have injured and Christ, in Agape love, restored. (Luke 22 & John 18) I find the unbalance was a glaring reality that zeal had unfortunately blinded. I was attempting to proclaim the truth to the masses but not the person, an intangible mass removed from each individuals humanity and the result appeared self-righteous, condemning, and not joyful, peaceable, long-suffering, temperate, faithful, good, gentle, or meek. (Galatians 5:22-23) The love here, this fruit of the Spirit, is the Greek word agape and is rooted in interaction. It's often translated charity, like in the KJV, because it's interpersonal. It's declared the highest of love, it's unconditional, it's a commitment to positive action in someone's life without the expectation of return. You can't do that from 30,000 feet!
The good news to the man that is condemned in and by his sins is that in repentance and believing, that mans sins were placed upon Christ at the cross of Calvary and the righteousness of Christ was imputed unto him at conversion! David said in Psalm 32 "Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile." This covenant between God and man is interpersonal, Christ finished his work on the cross with purpose and precision. He didn't die for a faceless, nameless mass but for each specific individual who would believe upon him, he died for you, he died for Bradley! He didn't die to make salvation possible, he died to save! The good news of the Gospel is not that I can ascent unto him but that he came looking for me! The Gospel presented through this agape love of God towards man is best described by John the Apostle when, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, he penned "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. We love him, because he first loved us. If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?"
I found myself recently being aggravated by the world, by some Christians even, because of their responses to Covid, masks, riots, justice, BLM, and so on! Anxious about it, eager to "set them straight." We're called to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15 - agape) that requires charity, benevolence, and to be without condition! It also requires interaction, personal interaction. If there is a way to proclaim compassionless truth it is with a broad stoke, an unintentional audience, and a zeal and desire to be "heard" and not to heal! But, you might say, don't they need to hear the truth? Even if it hurts, the truth is the truth and if I love them then I will tell them the truth. While this is true the application must be considered. A parent, pastor, family member, friend, or one with influence is obligated by the Word to speak the truth in love, even if it "hurts" or offends the one receiving it, but what does that look like? It doesn't look like a diatribe on twitter, a condemnation on facebook, or an article in the newspaper, those are akin to the office water fountain gossip that condemns everyone and heals no one! What it does look like is a Samaritan who sees another in need and acts. (Luke 10, Go read the story if you're unfamiliar.) The scriptures don't tell us if they spoke to one another, it doesn't tell us if the injured man was aware or cognizant, we don't know if they exchanged names or learned of one another's life and experiences but we do know that the Gospel applied in proximity with agape love is effectual, it does something, it changes a life which will ripple out and change culture and continue on to change the world! Andrew Breitbart rightly said "politics are downstream from culture." And John C. Wright extended the saying as he said "Politics is downstream from culture and culture is downstream from religion. One cannot change a man’s mind unless his heart allows it. But one cannot change a man’s heart unless his soul allows it. In the same way politics is downstream of culture, culture is downstream of religion. In the same way a man’s actions are dependent on his beliefs, his beliefs are dependent upon his primal and fundamental assumptions that form his character. What we are fighting is not a culture war but a religious war, for leftism is not a culture, it is a religion." The good Samaritan had an advantage, he had no social media to glory and virtue signal his actions, he had no cell phone with a high definition camera to video the beating instead of coming to the aid of the injured, he had no like or share button on his facebook page for his fellow Samaritans to confirm and solidify his actions, and he had no cancel culture to destroy him should they disagree! This man had his conscience and God above to hold him accountable and he acted with the Gospel in proximity! The Gospel was tangible!
I'm not saying that we aren't supposed to fight evil on a large cultural scale. I'm not saying that we aren't supposed to fight for biblical justice on a political and judicial plane. I'm also not saying that our goals shouldn't be broad, national, or global but what I am saying is that the most effective change comes from small everyday personal interactions where we as human beings made in the image of God love each other with that unconditional agape love of the risen Christ! Buy someone's gas, invite people over for dinner, wash someone's feet, LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR! They're not hundreds or thousands of miles away, they're right next door! Covid will end, masks will be irrelevant someday, nations will rise and fall, prophesy will end, knowledge will cease, but LOVE will remain!
1 Corinthians 13
The Excellence of Love
1 If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body [a]to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, 6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 [b]bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never fails; but if there are gifts of [c]prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part; 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. 11 When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I [d]became a man, I did away with childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror [e]dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. 13 But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the [f]greatest of these is love