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Farmville Enterprise December 5, 2018

An age-old struggle for Christians has been deciding on an individual basis how and how much God is calling us to spend time with others who do not share our faith or values. Without question we are to treat all people with kindness and respect and must take the logs out of our own eyes before trying to take the specks out of the eyes of our sisters and brothers. (Matthew 7 and Luke 6) A young Christian might discern that it would be wise to spend more time with friends who would encourage faithful living and less time with friends who would challenge it where a mature Christian could come to a different conclusion. We must learn to live as those who are sent into a world in need of hope while remaining set apart or sanctified by God.

As Jesus prayed to the Father for his disciples, “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.” (John 17:15-19)

Religious leaders often criticized Jesus for associating with the “wrong” types. “While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, ‘Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?’ On hearing this, Jesus said, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.’” (Matthew 9: 10-13)

Billy Graham was a frequent guest on mainstream television talk shows and drew some criticism for cooperating in an ecumenical fashion for his crusades. Graham once said, “I intend to go anywhere, sponsored by anybody, to preach the gospel of Christ, if there are no strings attached to my message. … The one badge of Christian discipleship is not orthodoxy but love. Christians are not limited to any church. The only question is: are you committed to Christ?”

Recently some have found fault with the soulful, husky-voiced 27-year-old Lauren Daigle for accepting certain invitations to sing on television. Over three years ago Daigle burst onto the contemporary Christian music scene with her album “How Can It Be” which earned Platinum Record status. At the 2015 GMA Dove Awards her title song won Best Song and Daigle was named New Artist of the Year.  Daigle later won Dove’s 2016 Artist of the Year and her single “Trust in You” was Best Song. A September 2018 Rolling Stone magazine headline proclaimed, “A Christian Singer Is Bigger Than Drake and Ariana Grande This Week.” Upon its release Daigle’s “Look Up Child” album debuted at number three on the Billboard Top 200 chart and she had the biggest sales week for a Christian album by a woman in over 20 years, which prompted multiple invitations to sing on mainstream talk shows.

Asked if she hesitated to appear on one Daigle replied, “Oh no. Not at all. I think the second we start drawing lines around which people are able to be approached and which aren’t, we’ve already completely missed the heart of God… I don’t have all the answers in life and I’m definitely not going to act like I do, but one thing I know for sure is I can’t choose who I’m supposed to be kind to, or who I’m supposed to show love to and who I’m not, because that’s the mission, right? Be who Christ was to everyone as well.”

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