I have a question for all who share my faith, for my brothers and sisters in the family of God; something that has troubled me for a very long time. Why do we want to disprove someone’s faith? How often has a celebrity, convicted felon, politician, or person of notoriety made a statement of faith and our community feels the need to get involved?
We usually have one of two responses; the first is to make that individual the poster child of God’s followers. A pressure no one needs. The second, which has broken my heart many times, is that we explain—at great length, in every public forum available—why that person’s faith is not real. To question it, to provide evidence by their conduct, to make a judgment when it is not ours to make…what is it we want to accomplish?
Do we wish they didn’t know Christ, since apparently, our perception of their understanding is not up to our standards? I surely hope not. Can we instead have our hearts aligned with Paul’s for those he had not met in the churches in the cities of Laodicea and Colossae?
I want you to know how much I have agonized for you and for the church at Laodicea, and for many other believers who have never met me personally. I want them to be encouraged and knit together by strong ties of love. I want them to have complete confidence that they understand God’s mysterious plan, which is Christ himself. Colossians 2:1-2
Is it our desire for our “club” to be exclusive to those we deem in line with our criteria; to our interpretation of what a follower of Christ looks like; to what behavior we consider acceptable and what is not? Instead, may we follow God’s desire for all of us. The traits and actions in the lives of other individuals who we have no way of really knowing should not form our opinions. Especially since they are no more a part of our lives than a few lines in an article, a post, or a discussion from another. May we seek in ourselves as well as others what God does, the state of our heart.
And I know it is important to love him with all my heart and all my understanding and all my strength and to love my neighbor as myself. This is more important than to offer all of the burnt offerings and sacrifices required in the law. Mark 12:33
Do we delight in the knowledge that if they don’t know Christ, they will live in eternity separated from a loving God and his mercy? Instead to experience punishment we should wish on no one. My heart clenches at the thought.
The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God. Psalm 9:17
May we seek in ourselves as well as others what God does, the state of our heart.
Instead, family, may we celebrate that maybe, just maybe, another has found what we have the privilege of knowing. Our merciful God has reached into their hearts to display a need for him and make real his sacrifice that was for each and every one of us. We should take joy in the possibility that they discovered the security in a relationship with a personal and wholly loving God.
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. Romans 8:38
Next time we are told of a new-found faith, no matter where announced, let’s root for them and encourage them. Instead of forming an opinion for others to read, let’s pray that God places in their lives a mentor, friend, or pastor who can walk alongside them, to love and teach them the fullness of God’s grace.
You see, family, our hope should be for all. For those who may have a glimmer of Christ yet stumble, whether they are in public, in our community, our neighborhood, or our family, may we display God’s love, described so very well in 1 Corinthians 13.
Love is kind; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely…believes all things, hopes all things.
Don’t miss our recent podcast episode with a strong woman of faith, Skillet’s Jen Ledger Shares Her Faith, Her Fear and Her Strength – 044.
You’ll also like Would Jesus Unfriend You?, 3 Ways Christians Should Share Their Faith, Building Faith: Growing in Your Relationship with God, Overcoming Bitterness When You Don’t Get the Credit You Deserve, and Is Your Anger Holding You Hostage? Freedom Can Be Found.