Who is our model as we seek to engage the postmodern world?
Again: our model is Jesus. Here specifically I have in mind his encounter with the Samaritan woman in John 4; this is a perfect example of how Christians can engage the seeking world.
- Jesus treats her with respect and compassion. Whatever the facts behind the story, whatever the woman’s morals etc., her marital history alone would have caused her community to have seen her as less, as damaged goods. Jesus doesn’t treat her like that. He treats her with respect and compassion.
- Jesus doesn’t ignore her sin, but he doesn’t shame her with it either. Even when he talks about her history, he doesn’t rub her face in it.
- Jesus treats her questions seriously. He doesn’t approach her with a superior, demeaning attitude. He treats her questions with respect. He isn’t looking for an opportunity to impress her with everything he knows. He sees HER. He sees her needs. She’s not an opportunity for him to make himself look good.
- He keeps the conversation aimed at God and what God is doing. He treats her questions seriously, but he keeps the conversation headed in the right direction: toward the story God is “writing” through Jesus. He genuinely hears her, but he doesn’t get distracted. Even when she tries to change the topic, he stays on point.
Monday, one final thing that John 4 teaches us about engaging the world.