I recently witnessed two separate instances where someone I’m close to has been harassed for the way they have voiced and shared their belief in Jesus. You would assume that the harassment came from narrow-minded, opinionated agnostics, or maybe people of a different faith… but it didn’t.
The accusations actually came from fellow “Christians”. The hatred, the criticism, and the intolerance all came from a group of people claiming to love and worship the same God. It hurts my heart and confounds my mind that this is possible. It is no wonder to me that some people have a disdain for Christianity — they may have witnessed or experienced the intolerance I’ve seen first-hand recently.
We have enough to fight against in this world without having to worry about taking shots from those who claim the same faith. Here are 3 reasons why we should be less critical of those trying to share God’s love.
- We should be about inclusion, not exclusion
One of the dark sides of intolerance is a twisted way of gratifiing our own egos. We can wrongly assume that by making someone else wrong, we make ourselves right.
This in no way represents Jesus’s patient love. The Bible paints a picture of Him not actively looking for people to reject, but of God actively looking for people to accept. This is not an advocate for closing our eyes and turn our heads when faced with wrong theology or behaviour that is blatantly wrong, but I am saying that we should actively focus on inviting others to experience God’s love rather than looking for those who are ‘doing it wrong’.
- We are ALL imperfect in our attempt to share God’s perfect love
The only perfect candidate for sharing God’s love is someone who realizes and admits his or her inability to do anything perfectly. The Bible is very clear that we all all fall short — so why should we expect anyone to represent Him perfectly?
We have complicated things while at the same time limiting God’s ability to work through us. Our primary focus in sharing God’s love is to do just that — share His love! Think for minute about the love of God – a love that was willing to die for those who hated him. We are all meant to be a reflection of Jesus, and this type of love. You can waste your time finding smudges, scratches, and imperfections in another’s reflection or you can just celebrate that there is a mirror. Extinguishing someone else’s light does nothing to brighten yours.
- Your Ministry is Worth Nothing Without Love
We could all spend the rest of our days arguing about how the preacher speaks or the style of the music — trying to find the right way to share God’s love and grow His church. But a life spent centrally focused on those matters is a life wasted — a life majoring in the minor points. The greatest thing you can do spiritually means nothing if it isn’t done in love.
The people we loved during our lives will matter much more than the doctrine we debated. I’m convinced the greatest thing we can do is to love God with everything we have and to love others as ourselves.
What We Need More Of…
This world needs more Christians who are living out the scriptures and less Christians who are debating them, more Christians who are preaching sound doctrine and less Christians searching for false doctrine, more Christians living in God’s power and less Christians just talking about God’s power.
It’s easy to sit back debating, disputing, and discussing the Christian faith. What’s hard is actually living it out.
Photo by (Flickr CC) Tarik Browne