Thursday, July 08, 2010

Love has to win out.

I've been thinking a lot about anger, judgment, fear, misunderstanding, faith, Christianity, religion, etc. the last few days.

If I were to ask you whether or not - without a doubt - you believe in heaven, would you think about your answer before delivering it, or would you immediately pop off a quick yes or no?

Do you believe in God?  Without any doubt, fully assured that He is the Creator.  Do you believe in Jesus Christ?  Without any doubt, fully assured that He lived on earth and then secondly, that He is going to return and that His return will signify the end of the world.

Now, while I'd love to discuss those questions with you, I wonder if you think about people outside your church or your faith group and how they would answer them.  I also wonder about how safe they would feel in answering them honestly with you.

There have been so many things rattling around in my brain lately that to trap them all and get them written down would be nearly impossible, but the main thrust of what is going on up there always comes back to what God intends for His world and how we interpret it.  Basically, I think we screw it up on a regular basis.  All of us - me included.

I write a lot about how we act in the world and how we are viewed by non-Christians.  Paul wrote a lot about that as well.  He watched new Christians get so enthusiastic they drove people around them crazy and he watched old Christians get so judgmental and demanding about the process that they drove people around them away from Jesus.

It is difficult to live as a Christian in the world, but I think we make it tougher than it needs to be.  Especially on each other and for goodness' sake we make it difficult for anyone who isn't a Christian to want to be anything like us.

We are afraid of things we don't understand and for many Christians in today's world who have never, ever known anything other than being a Christian, there is a disconnect between them and the world.  It's hard to talk to someone who doesn't understand our belief structure.  It's hard to accept their world-view.  Instead of showing love, we ridicule and make judgmental commentary.  We quote scripture (which by the way, they simply don't understand - much less believe) and demand that they follow rules to be accepted in the church or into our lives.  We surround ourselves with people who believe as we do, even down to going to church in a denomination because another doesn't spout a doctrine we can accept.

So, when anything comes up that might be different or outside our comfort level, we react poorly.  Today I read a Tweet by a Christian humorist (Jonathan Acuff - he writes satire and irony) that this:

"When he dies God'll show him Holy Spirit straight to HELL!" Comment I got. Pray for folks whose version of God longs to send people to hell."

Judgment is stronger than grace. 

I'm back to the earlier questions.  Do you believe - beyond a shadow of a doubt - in heaven ... in God ... in Jesus Christ?   If your answer is yes - I'm glad for you.  If your answer tends to include that small hint of doubt in the deepest, darkest recesses of your mind, consider that there is a world out there filled with people who live with that doubt every day.  They yearn for something or someone to show them that God exists and there is a reason for them to believe and have hope in eternity.  They are desperate to not be judged or looked down upon because we think we are better than them since we've made a decision to have faith.  They want to know love and grace, mercy and understanding from those of us who call ourselves Christians; to see that exhibited in everything that we do and say, no matter how much our opinions on life, news reports, politics, media, and every other thing we encounter seem to be important to us.

Love one another ... not just those who think, look, act, and worship like us. 

My thoughts have been a little random tonight - in fact, it's taken me nearly an hour just to get any type of cohesion in this blog.  I still don't think I made it, and you know what ... I still have a lot of questions about faith and the reality of God, heaven and eternity.  I hope I always do because every question forces me to dig for an answer.  

But, until I get the answers ... I know that the safest way for me to encounter everything that I do is with the knowledge that God has called me to love, not to judge and not to always be right (even though I am called the Oracle), but to love.  So, until I can prove beyond that shadow of a doubt that God exists, I will show that He does with love.

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