|It's your move.|
When I first became a Christian, I spent a lot of time lamenting the fact that I did not have a wonderful Christian upbringing and spiritual heritage as so many of those I began meeting in the church. That was until a conversation I had with a friend named Faith. Not kidding that was (is) her name. Faith and I conversed about our faith. Moving right along. Faith appreciated her Christian heritage but recognized a difference in the faith we both shared. Mine being a little rough around the edges, and a radical conversion experience. Contrast that with her upbringing which kept her safe and secure in a comfortable Christianity. She told me she was a little jealous of my very raw and real relationship with the Lord, and that she had nothing radical to be saved from, apart from perhaps the comfort of her own Christian life. Funny, how God brings different people together in His Kingdom to teach us about His infinite wisdom and goodness while showing us the flaws of our own perception! The fact is I am grateful that I know Him, and He has given me this gift of faith (in addition to a friend named Faith!). A precious gift it is, and one which I will thank Him for eternally. I guess no matter which side of the fence you are on, the fact is the grass always looks greener on the side you're not on! I listen a lot and observe with the motive of understanding myself and others better. I have compiled a short list of strategies, if you will, to address some of the issues that repeatedly come up with regard to the lives of we who are Believers.
1. When speaking to another person, especially with different views than your own, try not to allow your mouth to contort your whole face into an expression that looks as if you are chewing clumps of defiled kitty litter.
2. Two words that don't belong together, ever are Mean and Christian. Seems obvious. But somehow, it really is the one that trips many up, historically speaking. Radical yes, radically cruel, inhuman or down right rude, no. Please go forth and sin no more. Take a tip from the Disney Princesses: "Kindness is important, no matter what you do..." or just try opening up your Bible, anywhere where Jesus is speaking, teaching, or hanging out. That is the example. And no - you do not need to go turning over tables, it won't have the same effect, and you will probably get arrested. You can read number 7 repeatedly (after you have read the rest) and it will all make sense in the morning.
3. Sermons are great to listen to, but really they are meant to be lived. Do your Pastor, Preacher, Priest or whoever you are receiving "Spiritual Truth" from a favor and don't sleep through the service he spent all week preparing. Most of all ask God, what He wants you to hear, instead of thinking of all the "other" people who could benefit from hearing today's message.
4. If there is a certain person or group of people who you feel strongly about "sharing" God's truth with and yet at the same time feel a strong loathing for simultaneously. Chances are they are not your mission field. At least not yet. Please stay home, shut up and pray instead. You will make it easier for those Christians who truly have a heart for the person or persons to be about God's business without hindrance. The truth is spoken in love. Truth without love equals judgement. Stop judging and start loving. On your knees, then, get to it.
5. Please stop reading every book that comes out of popular Christianity and neglecting your own exposure to The Living Word. Jesus said that "Man shall not live by Bread alone, but by every word that comes out of the mouth of God". How is it that any Christian can follow Christ without reading what He said daily? A wise woman once told me ". Read Jesus' words every day, if you want to walk with and know Him". Not just once in a while. You eat every day, right?
6. Stop playing favorites. Following Jesus means denying the flesh. Christianity is no place for cliques. Boundaries are healthy, cliques are not. It will drive your supposed evangelical efforts into the ground if people are not willing to be real, be gracious and just accept others who are different from them. Period. This means not just saying hello to new people and getting disgusted when they don't respond the way you expect but, just finding ways to invite them into your life. On their terms NOT yours. It's called grace. If you have received it, you can give it.
7. Watch your "Blind Spots". We are to be in the world, not of it right? What are Blind Spots? Glad you asked. They are those places that the Holy Spirit has not convicted a person yet (Believer or Unbeliever) and you feel compelled to reveal, judge, slander, whisper, condemn etc. in a candy coated Christian way which, by the way, fools no-one and is unkind. Read number two again. You are not the Holy Spirit. Re -read number four. Three words for you: God is Able. No really, He does not need your help. Messiah has come and it is not you. Check the mirror. If you disagree, go back to number five.
Well there it is, this is not meant to offend, but if it does, I have another post for you coming up soon called:
"Why Christians Should Be The Least Likely To Be Offended". Stay tuned!