I am sick and tired of people in the media or on social media assuming that there are only two types of Christians. Type #1 being the “extremists” who actually believe the Bible and can’t wait to smack people with rules, condemnation, and judgement. And, type #2 being the “progressives” who care more about cultural relevance, social justice, and tolerance than what the Bible actually says. It’s as though it is impossible for me to believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible and love people at the same time. That makes me mad! Why do they think that? Possibly because of a media bias against Christians, and possibly because of the MANY Christians who don’t seem able to combine belief with loving words and actions.
This rant continues with 4 reminders for those of you who, like me, hold a literal interpretation of the Bible and want to be a loving example of Jesus Christ.
- Belief ≠ Reaction
This is a pet peeve of mine. We need to think before we post that meme, or share that article, or make that comment on social media. Are we reacting in a way that honors God or that makes us look stupid? I’m not happy with the state of our country, or current politics, or some of the policies that have been made lately, but I try really hard not to publicly react.
Let’s attempt to think things through and ask questions like, “If I do/say this will it make God look bigger? Will people think He is awesome? Will this create an atmosphere of love and acceptance? Will it push people away?”
Just because something makes me upset, doesn’t mean I have to react on social media. (That’s what my husband, and sister, and friends are for.)
- Belief ≠ Talk
We need to know when to say nothing. Just because I disagree doesn’t always mean I have to let people know. It is possible to “not agree” without vocally disagreeing. It is possible to wait to share your opinion until someone asks for it.
When Jesus was here on earth, He asked tons of questions. This is interesting to me because, of all people, He actually had accurate information to give. What if we followed Jesus’ example and worked on asking good questions that encouraged others to talk and process instead of just pushing our beliefs on them?
- Belief ≠ Stupid
Just because I do not believe in many of our culture’s more liberal ideologies does not make me stupid. However, sometimes Christians can look stupid because they haven’t taken the time to figure out why they have certain beliefs. I’m not talking about screaming apologetics at people. I’m talking about knowing what the Bible says, searching your own heart, talking to God, and taking the time to “work out your salvation” (Phil. 2:12). Personal stories and experiences are way less threatening than “statistics” and “facts”. Be gentle, be full of grace, and please, try to sound intelligent.
For example, I believe that God literally spoke the world into existence in six days, which tends to be controversial. That doesn’t mean I’m ignorant, that I’ve stupidly ignored science, or that I’m going to quote Ken Ham if we talk about this. It does mean that I’ll talk about how enormous I believe God is, and I might share some concerns I have regarding evolution, Jesus, and humanity. I’ll listen to you and ask you questions. You will challenge me and we will have a respectful discussion. Hopefully we can share more of our hearts than just information.
- Belief ≠ Hate
Just because I do not agree with a homosexual or transgender lifestyle, doesn’t mean that I hate these people! Absolutely not! On the contrary, when I read about the high percentages of depression and suicide within the LGBT community, it makes me care about them even more!
I believe that everyone was made in the image of God. I believe that everyone has a sin nature that separates them from a relationship with God. Even though I think homosexuality is a sin, I also think that looking at porn is a sin, along with lying, gossiping, and eating too much! Sin is everywhere and it is something Jesus came to destroy! He took the punishment for sin and He destroyed the power of it. How is anyone going to hear and believe the amazing news of Jesus if His followers (Christians) are too full of hate and fear to share the gospel?
We need to love people with the same crazy, radical, intense, unconditional love that Jesus has for us! Don’t think you can do it? Ask God to give you as much of His heart for people as you can handle. I guarantee you will be a tearful, broken wreck who can’t stop loving people even when it doesn’t make any sense!
So there you go. I can believe in traditional marriage, literal creation, Jesus as the only way to heaven, etc. and still passionately love the people in the world. I will avoid public reactions, realize it’s possible to disagree without being vocal about it, work to have intelligent reasons for my beliefs, and destroy hate by the power of God’s unconditional love. Will you join me? If Jesus lives really inside of us, then let’s show Him to the world!