Recently Julie and I were enjoying an evening together, and we ended up doing what we do a lot without the kids … running errands. In the last few days I’ve been reminded that because of the work our church does and because of the reach of social media lots of people know in our community me and our church. That can be cool, but it can also be not so cool.
We were in a store looking shopping and ran into a guy who looked familiar. I said hello, and he proceeded to start a conversation. He explained where we met. It was through the church and through a young man we were helping that was battling addiction and had been in prison. That also reminded me once again how we are called to help hurting people and to share God’s love.
The conversation went in a direction that I didn’t expect. Sometimes these talks go in a bad direction where someone calls us jerks or hypocrites. At other times the conversation is filled with gratitude for the help and resources we get to share and for the love and acceptance people find. That was not the case here.
This forty-something (I would guess) year old man went at the conversation from several different directions for several minutes. He wanted to prove his point that using one translation of the Bible was more important than whatever translational we use. He went on to talk about how important he feels that prophecy is in the every day teaching of the church. I had a hard time getting a word in edge wise.
When I finally began to talk, I felt like he wasn’t listening nor was he interested in listening to me after I listened to him. My point wasn’t to say he was wrong, though I did disagree with several things he shared, but my point was that far too often Christians are seen arguing with each other by the world looking on. As people who don’t care about or follow Jesus see us and listen, they are turned off because so called Christians are fighting or arguing about stuff that flat doesn’t matter. I simply shared, and he agreed, that Jesus is the most important thing and is the only savior. But I continued to say that churches and Christians have to find some common ground and begin together to serve and love the people who aren’t in any church.
You’ve heard this before: for too long people have known what the church is against, and it is time to let them know what the church if for. Talk really is cheap. If people don’t see the love of God and see that we are genuine, they won’t care about or listen to our doctrine.
Please understand that I am not belittling or downing beliefs. What I am saying is that it is important that to be a disciple and to understand what we believe. We further need to know how to apply those beliefs to our every day lives.
1 Timothy 4:7 NLT
Do not waste time arguing over godless ideas and old wives’ tales. Instead, train yourself to be godly.
1 John 3:18 NLT
Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.
If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing.
I’m convinced that God loves people more than anything else. Further, I am convinced that His church must have on our hearts what God has on His heart. Again, that is people. Talk is cheap. Actions speak louder than words. Let’s make sure our doctrine matches our action and that the people around us see God through what we do and say. The people around us need Jesus.