I know sometimes it’s a landmine to ask what if questions. But today I’m not walking through this landmine field alone. I’m bringing you with me. In fact, for some, I might be leading you directly into an explosive zone.
What if I didn’t know God?
Would you see me as a project, someone to “witness” to, or would you avoid my blog because you wouldn’t want to associate with me?
Would you care?
How we treat others speaks volumes about the state of our heart. Remember the Pharisee in the Bible who prayed he was so thankful he wasn’t like the other people?
I’m like the other people.
There it is. It’s out there.
Yes, I have a super bloated conscience and yes, my life is not as it would be.
But I’m still here on earth. I still screw up habitually. Swap out the sin, slap a new label on me—any way you cut it I’m a mess.
And the only reason anyone might see a hint of goodness in me is because of God. Sound extreme? Perhaps, but I’m okay with that.
Because I know where I was. I know where I am.
And instead of judging me, I’d really appreciate your love instead.
Next time you try to figure out “where someone is at with their faith” think about this. Turn the microscope from peering out to looking inward.
No one wants to be a project, most don’t understand what being “witnessed to” means, and I can’t think of a single person who likes to be avoided.
But I guarantee whether they’re brusque or shy they want to feel loved.
Instead of asking how I can help save their soul might we all be wiser to ask how I can get to know them better, how I can better connect with them…how can I love them as I have been loved?
What if I didn’t know God?
*photo by stock.XCHNG
I've been in this explosive zone for the past four years, ever since I began studying out the history of the early church and how so many things taught as infallible doctrine these days were, in fact, very different back then. One of the key things I've learned is that if we know God, it's because God revealed himself to us. If someone doesn't know God, it's b/c God hasn't revealed himself yet. There is a reason for all the verses that talk about Jesus speaking in parables so only those with eyes to see and ears to hear will understand.ReplyDelete
I've been through a lot of ups and downs in my journey, and the phrase "There by the grace of God go I" means everything to me. Unlike many Christians, I don't believe in free will (I think it's an idol for lots of people). In my experience, I didn't initiate the opening of my heart to make a decision to accept Jesus; I was given the gift of belief (Romans 12:3). Many wonderful loving people in my life have not been given the gift of faith, and thus, many don't know God. When I believed they weren't "saved," I was caught in between loving them and witnessing to them. It was an icky feeling b/c as you say, they felt like they were a project. But ever since I learned God has his own plan for each of them, each in their own order, I've been able to concentrate on loving them for who they are and taking them where they're at—no agenda (hidden or overt) to teach them about Jesus.
Sorry for the long comment, Wendy. This land mine (as you say) is very near and dear to my heart. I can't stand the us vs. them/ saved vs. unsaved mentality. It has hurt so many people in the world.
First, LOVE the long comment. Meant it got through or resonated with you. I suspected this one would with many. You make such a valid point about treating people with an agenda. Why is it we think they can't sense or feel that? More and more I'm of the understanding of just how messed up I am and it makes me grateful--for God and His grace. I feel the constant tug to look within and work on my own stuff. It's more of a love thing than a "win over" thing.Delete
Second, (b/c I sort of left that out) I'm really glad you commented, especially because you feel so passionately about this.Delete
I think that people don't respond to someone telling them they need to change or someone looking down on them. Instead, they are drawn to love, acceptance (not of their sin but of them as a person). When we love like that, regardless of circumstances, people want to know why...because that kind of love doesn't just happen. It's God working through us.ReplyDelete
So right you are, it doesn't just happen. My many tried and failed attempts (on my own accord) are proof. The Pharisee kind of cracks me up, but I feel like I see that attitude so much, even among Christians.Delete
I love this, Wendy. It comes back to humility, doesn't it. Pride makes us think the people around us are projects to be fixed, but humility takes a step back...realizes my own heart is project enough...and Christ is the one to do the real fixing. I still want to love, to be Christ's hands and feet as that saying goes...and like you said, to simply get to know people and connect with them, so I can better know how to love them.ReplyDelete
I have a theory about how people see Christ's hand and feet at work. I've always believed so much is happening at any given time than meets the eye. I wonder if people aren't receiving glimpses all the time from active, loving Christians who talk little, but respond much.Delete
YES. I LOVE this post. There is nothing more irritating to me than making a person a project. Ugh.ReplyDelete
Great post, Wendy!!!
My pastor just did the most amazing message on grace and one of his comments has stuck with me:
"Grace is attractive to the "unrighteous" but it's threatening to the "righteous""
His context was how Jesus hung out with the not-so-good peeps and all the supposedly good peeps were like, what is he doing? The not-so-good peeps who were not like Jesus...they LIKED him.
Unlike the other guys, which I really hope I never become. Heh.
Merry Christmas, girlie!!
Yeah, I love who Christ hung with.Delete
I can't speak for the larger body of Christians, but I know in my own life there has been a shift of sorts. I was raised with parents who came to Christ in their twenties, after a highschool pregnancy AND marriage (my parents were 17 when they were married) and they were part of the movement that believed they needed to save the world in one generation and I grew up looking at everyone as a project to be saved. Through my own life experiences, and the difficult valleys I've walked through, the Lord has shown me that I am a seed sower, but He makes the seed grow. It isn't up to me to "save" the lost, but to plant Seeds of the Kingdom though my everyday words and actions, regardless of who I'm talking to, regardless of where I am. My words and action shouldn't differ with the crowd I'm with. As a follower of Christ, I'm always ministering and it's not my place to judge, or assume, who "needs" it most.ReplyDelete
I agree & make no mistake I believe there's a time and place to share what's been done through us. But I think some Christians prematurely jump to it when the message could be better sent through legitimate connection. I too love the seed analogy. Hope I've planted those through the years.Delete
Love this, Wendy! Sometimes when we look at others as "projects" or as less than ourselves, we fail to see what God is truly showing us about ourselves.ReplyDelete
Agreed & Congrats lady! Getting excited for you.Delete
Love this, Wendy. I don't think anybody wants to be treated like a project, yet I know at certain times throughout my faith journey, I've had this mindset (I'm so thankful for God's grace and other people's grace as well....b/c I'm a hot mess, Wendy-girl). We want to be treated like people. We want to be loved and listened to. As far as I can tell, Jesus never treated anybody like a project. He did life with people and the biggest thing? He served. That's what He did. He loved and He served. He washed dirty feet. He also taught and exhorted and healed and ministered to people.ReplyDelete
I really like what Gabrielle said. We're called to sew seeds. Not fix people. We're all broken. Only God has the power to restore.
Just had a thought, maybe it's not only pride that motivates us to act this way at times, but also a form of laziness. It's easier to view people in this manner--makes it more exterior and less dive in and "do life" necessary. Hmm. Thinking....thinking. Thanks for RT btw.Delete
Amen, Wendy! I've been guilty of all these things, and sometimes I think all God wants me to do is love. I'm the one who makes it more complicated.ReplyDelete
Also love the seed-sower analogy. Like that a lot.
Thanks so much for this post.
I go back and forth about whether loving others is difficult or easy. Pretty sure it's supposed to be easy--when I surrender my mess. But when I'm holding on to the mess there are times it feels near impossible.Delete
Thank you, thank you, thank you for saying this. I sometimes think when I see certain bumper stickers, "If I was not a Christian, that wouldn't encourage me to become one."ReplyDelete
People have souls and feelings.
We are called to love, God takes care of the rest. We should look at every person with the intention of just loving them better without withholding because of their actions, this shows judgement, not our job...ReplyDelete
You said it. I think my last comment is where it gets muddy. Loving, truly loving can get complicated at times. When our love is abused, manipulated, taken for granted, etc. But we are still called to it even though it takes different forms. It's the forms that can get tricky.Delete
Tears, Wendy. This post is just what I needed to read today. I'm saying goodbye to people here, wondering if I've sown any seeds. Resting in God's grace. Trusting He works through my mess.ReplyDelete
Glad I stopped by to catch up on your blog. I've missed your beautiful words. Love you!