Let’s get into some hard topics today, shall we?!
As I speak to or hear from more and more people I feel there is a common challenge; one that has grown, no doubt thanks to social media. Most of us seem to suffer from a similar fear: the fear of what other’s think of us.
This is a textbook statement that is not exactly unheard of. I believe that we are in a culture where people are leaning so far into, “If you don’t think the same way, or believe the same way that I do, you are cut off.” This is not just a world mindset. I strongly believe it is residing inside of our church culture.
The first issue with the fear is this: We often believe that we have the right way of looking at things, or a right way of how we are living our lives. A very basic wrong-right/black-white mindset, and I feel like this is one of our biggest flaws. Yes, we have a Book of guidelines in how we should direct our lives. I’m not by any means stating that there is no instruction on keeping ourselves healthy and having a wise way of living. I am, however, stating that it is not our place to dictate and determine other’s sense of belonging in our world by how we personally make the choice to live.
This is going to be a very controversial topic, but I am all about bringing in conversation. It is not our jobs as Christians to go around writing people off because they made a questionable decision. It is not our place to find someone and tell them just how low they are and how stained their life is based upon their actions. It is so simple what our job is, and yet it is the hardest thing for some of us to play out in our lives. Our job is to LOVE.
This is why I titled the story the way I did. God did not just reach out to all of the priests and people who were right with Him. Jesus did not only converse and spend time with the ones who followed Him and gave everything to Him. He did not go to the cross and say, “Well, Father. This is for the real ones who were by my side from day one! Anyone else who thought different is canceled. I didn’t come here to be around people who think ‘that’ way.” AbsoLUTELY not. The word says THIS:
“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
What a beautiful demonstration. God doesn’t just sit back and tell us how deeply to love others. He demonstrates it Himself and shows us how to love others. Not to just be friends with the like-minded, not to only love the people who try hard to live ‘right’, but to give love to everyone.
Now, from the other side of the conversation (the one where we are concerned about what others think of us)… Christ did not call us to be liked. WHOOPS. Truth booth. In fact, He tells us several times in His word that living a life for Him is a hard life. People are going to say unkind things, treat you different, persecute you, and even leave your life altogether, but a life for Christ and WITH Christ is one that cannot be matched by anyone in this world.
“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”
I encourage you all today to live a life for Christ outside of societal boundaries. Human beings are going to have negative things to say, but our Heavenly Father has abundant life for us within our reach. Make the choice today to not only love others without limits, but to make God the center of your thinking. He thinks so highly of you! If God is for us, WHO can be against us? I pray that you continue to feel his confidence and share his love!