I’m stepping out on a limb here because something has bothered me a lot lately with social media.
Christians are making statements and polarizing themselves over things that are inconsequential. Oh, I know, you believe your views are important and I respect that, but please, hear me out here.
Does your firm stance and insulting words about whether someone is Republican or Democrat show the winsomeness of Christ?
Or whether you believe in Creation or Evolution?
Or, whether everyone should say “Merry Christmas?”
I’m not saying that these things are unimportant. What I want to propose though is that the militant stand that many take might be doing more to alienate those from the truth of the gospel and the holiness of this time of year than attract them to it.
Insulting someone to try to win them to your point of view is the equivalent of throwing manure on them rather than the sweet aroma of baking Christmas cookies. It doesn’t work.
Our opponents are fellow image bearers of Christ, whether we agree with their political, cultural or theological positions on things.
I have my perspective and stand on issues too, and some I feel strongly about. However, the reason I initially went to pursue a degree in Christian counseling was because I saw too often that the words and behaviors of many Christians were a stumbling block to unbelievers.
Granted, we are all in the process of sanctification–and I am at times as guilty as anyone of being obnoxious about things I believe strongly in. However, I believe as Christians we need to have an extra filter on our conversations on-line. The filter of the question: “Will this bring honor to Christ and make Him desirable for others to pursue?”
Yes, I know Christianity is objectionable to many. But consider this. Is it because of the truths of the Bible itself,or could it be due to the way those who claim to be Christians behave and respond to the world around them?
I’m not going to tell you what to believe about how you educate your child, whether or not you should vaccinate or if you should be for or against Obamacare. I respect the fact that there are people on both sides of the aisle of these issues. And that’s okay. (No. Really. It is.). God can be honored and glorified in many of the diverse opinions we hold depending on the manner in which we hold them.
Does that make sense? I believe God can be glorified in the family that chooses public school as well as those who homeschool (or private). God leads and guides us all in different ways because He desires to shine His light in all the dark corners of the world. When we can love others in spite of their views on abortion (gasp!) or how they vote, we elevate their dignity as humans created in the image of God above our own agendas. Do we have to negate what we believe in to do that? NO! But we can love and listen and even disagree without disrespecting those who hold opposing views. We can stand for truth, certainly, but let us do it with grace.
Ultimately our goal is to win the world to Jesus, but if the world sees us as fighting about minor issues as to what color of skin Jesus or Santa had or get militant about boycotting stores that say “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” then how does that draw them closer to the very Savior we proclaim to worship and adore? When we do things like this we are slamming the door of the inn in their face and tell them they can’t belong with us because of some corporate policy dictated to them by a handful of people removed from the day to day interaction at a cash register.
Go ahead and say Merry Christmas in response to a benign greeting. Sometimes those employees are obeying orders but can respond to your comment with their own Merry Christmas when you open the door instead of being hostile. And the sweetness of Christ will prevail instead of more animosity.
This goes beyond Christmas – but the war seems to be more heated than ever at this season. Christianity is not supposed to intentionally alienate people from the truths of the Gospel. The gospel can do that on it’s own but those who believe in Him should not. We hold our faith as a precious and beautiful gift of grace that is meant to be shared, not horded.