From my last five years of being a missionary in Johannesburg, I am totally convinced that the main creator of the ghetto is the vibe that oozes from the lives of believers and their churches. I have spoken to unbelievers about the vibe the church gives off and I have watch the city respond to campaigns that we have done through the press and social media, and the constant expectation is that the church is out to criticize and condemn those outside. The vibe given off is ‘holier-than-thou’, ‘us and them’, and ‘we will set you straight’. Here are three potent ways to sort out the vibe:
1: Really get that you are saved only by grace
When it sinks into your heart that the only difference between your belief and behavior and their belief and behavior is the grace of God, then 33.3% of the vibe dissipates. In Ephesians 2 Paul thunders out that we contribute nothing to our salvation – even the belief with which we respond to God’s grace is a gift from God, so we have nothing to boast about or give off a superior vibe about.
2: Really get that you need the gospel as much as the unbeliever
Although the unbeliever needs the gospel to come into salvation, the believer needs the gospel continuously to mature in his salvation. You can check out my previous series of blogs concerning ‘the gospel and thoroughly changed lives’ for more on this, but the point is acknowledging that you are a fellow human also continuously in need of the gospel busts another 33.3% of the vibe.
3: Really get that you are a servant of the city, not the other way around
Deep within the heart of a servant is humility and so the vibe a servant gives off is humility not superiority. If you can get the Christ-like deal of coming not to be served but to serve, then you will be able to discard the remaining 33.3% of the vibe.