You’ve also realized that you don’t always act like a Christian — and that all too often your heart bends more to the world’s ways than to the ways of Jesus.

Do you see what that means?

You’re actually part and parcel to the problems of the world.

So am I.

And that’s the problem beneath the problem.

The Right Attitude

As Christians, we’re irritated when we see other Christians behaving badly. We grow frustrated when we see people inside the church treating others unkindly. Whether it’s the infighting of partisan politics or disputes over how to strategically engage with the culture, or even theological arguments of various stripes, we don’t always get along with each other in the Christian subculture. We also don’t seem to have much patience for candid and respectful discussions when disagreements spring up. In fact, we’re quick to jump to conclusions and even quicker to criticize our own people when they define the problems, or the solutions, differently than we do.

Let me give you an example.

During a recent interview with Marvin Olasky of World magazine, I was asked about the same-sex marriage debate within today’s culture. The discussion took place in front of students from King’s College inside New York City’s Empire State Building. I simply acknowledged what the facts support. I shared with Mr. Olasky that among younger Americans, same-sex marriage is gaining acceptance and that we’re rowing against the tide. I affirmed that we have God’s design on our side, as well as social science research that affirms the wisdom of traditional one-man/one-woman marriage. Yet given the obvious paradigm shift among the younger generation, I noted that we’re fighting an uphill battle of demographics. Given the facts, how should the church respond to this growing divide? Are we ready for the day when a majority of people disagree with the multimillennium-old definition of marriage? If not, shouldn’t we be ready for it?

Once the excerpted interview was published, several of my Christian associates were upset with me for making such an observation. In response to my attempt to bring perspective and share what the Lord had laid on my heart, some people ridiculed me — yes, these were my fellow Christians! Some perceived my comments as weak, akin to waving a white flag of surrender. Some even accused me of caving in to supporters of same-sex marriage. One supporter even went so far as to write in a private e-mail, “Never have I been so embarrassed to be affiliated with Focus on the Family!”

To be clear, I was not suggesting that Christians throw up their hands and accept the reality of same-sex marriage. I was simply trying to express what so many are struggling with: How do we navigate the coming age and culture in the manner and methods commanded by Jesus? How do we disagree with certain principles within culture without being hostile in our attitude? If our current methods are failing to stem the tide of public acceptance, shouldn’t we consider the possibility that the Lord is calling us to engage in a different way?

Since assuming my role as president of Focus on the Family, an international ministry dedicated to helping families thrive, I’ve had many chats with the Lord about what He is calling me to communicate on His behalf. These haven’t been audible conversations, of course, but I have clearly felt His leading and direction during my prayer times these last seven years. Here is the essence of what He’s been telling me — and what has motivated me to sit down and write this book.