“Proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance.” – Acts 28:31.
Has anyone ever told you that you’re brutally honest? Or that you have no filter? Or that you tell rather than ask? Or that you come off as a bulldozer? Or that you speak a lot more than you listen? Those are more politically correct ways of telling you that they view you as a jerk.
It would seem that Christians and jerks could not co-exist in the same person. But Christians can seem that way when our tone sounds like we’re speaking from on high. When we act like we are standing above others. We can come off as jerks when we judge and critique others and when we tell them they are wrong. People will not open their hearts to us if we have a morally superior tone. Nothing creates more defensiveness in people than the feeling of being judged by another human being.
Whether the perception is real or imagined, people can and do distance themselves from the church and Christianity simply because they perceive Christians as arrogant jerks. But here is the thing: we’re just human. Of course we’re not like Christ all the time. But that is our goal. And the more we become like Christ the less we will be seem as self-righteous, or arrogant or as hypocrites. We don’t have the right to think that being a Christian somehow makes us above others. Matthew 20:28 tells us, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
When people see us they should be able to identify us by our Christ-like qualities and how we love one another. “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” (John 13:35). We need to keep this constantly in our hearts and minds as we interact with others on Jesus’ behalf. Responding as Jesus would, with grace and love.
When Gentiles started coming to faith for the first time, Jewish Christians insisted that these new converts start keeping the Jewish traditions. This was difficult for the Gentiles. The situation was taken to the church leaders in Jerusalem, who looked at it and announced their conclusion: “And so my judgment is that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God.” (Acts 15:19).
We should not make it difficult for the “Gentiles” in our lives: our neighbors, family, and friends. Our mission is to seek and save the lost, to help people come to God. But it turns out it’s still easy to make faith difficult for people. When we do, we violate our purpose. We need to do everything we can to allow God to use us to draw people closer to Him.
- How did you notice that it was time to have a spiritual conversation? How did you start the conversation?
- Do you think it is rude to invite someone to church?
- Invite 4 people this week to attend our Easter services.