A well respected musician once said, “God doesn’t need a lawyer…just be honest.” When I first read that on Switchfoot’s blog, it struck me with its irony. That we would subtly judge those who judge people puts us in a precarious pickle. The attributes of God are expressed in some way in every decision He makes – His mercy, His sovereignty, His judgement, to name a few. But as humans we can’t understand how they all work together in every situation, so we ask honest (but sometimes dumb) questions about God.
We ask them in many ways, making everyone uncomfortable. Unfortunately, some of those ways are hostile towards God and offensive to His people. Am I saying that it’s ok to approach God any old how? Not really. He is God and He does demand our reverence. And yes, sometimes our cries for answers aggressively oppose everything He stands for. We are, after all, enemies of God and dead in our sin at one point.
But God doesn’t need a lawyer. Not in real life, not in art, not in politics and certainly not in social media. I can’t recount the number of debates that broke out in my lifetime over beliefs. Many of them tearing apart friendships and closing doors of opportunity to reach people with the gospel. It’s like we took off our shoes and threw them at each other (remember that time President Bush was at the press conference?) When Jesus stood before the ruling council, who represented Him? Yet everything went according to plan.
As a teen I loved apologetics. The fervour with which I would swing my sword with sharp points and counterarguments gave me life. The thrill of quick wits and answering questions with questions was something I lived for. I loved a good fight, and I loved to wield my sword like Excalibur. What changed? I came to the realisation that love wins over truth. No need to throw rice grains in the air, or get tye died up. Love without truth is not love; and truth without love is not truth. The two are sides of the same coin.
Paul describes Christians in 2 Corinthians 5:20 as “Ambassadors for Christ,” sent to proclaim the message of reconciliation to the world: “Be reconciled to God”. Because when you’re establishing a relationship, you need an ambassador, not a lawyer. Saul was a lawyer. Paul was an ambassador. Did it mean that his apologetics game was weak? Most certainly not, just read his letters! But he still resolved to know nothing but Jesus Christ and Him crucified when he was among the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 2: 2).
I look at my life as a poet, a blogger and a liver among the body, and it’s easy to be a lawyer – especially with the platform. It’s easy to stand, wanting to represent God, whose name and reputation are being dragged through the mud by His enemies (including those who claim to be His friends). But God doesn’t need representation of the legal kind. He doesn’t want us to throw punches since the war’s already been won. Who knows the mind of God that he may instruct Him? (1 Corinthians 2:16).