I heard of a church once that made a list called "100 ways to reach your neighbor." They had many things listed like: make a pie for your neighbor, invite someone over for dinner, or rake your neighbor's leaves for them.
All of them were good, but you know what was never mentioned? Telling them about Jesus. It wasn't on there. "Study the Bible with your neighbor" didn't make the list.
I was talking to a Christian recently who was doing homeless ministry. She loved going there and loving the less fortunate, giving them food, praying with them, and caring about their problems... but she felt something was missing. She said, "I'm glad they can see a difference in me from the world. But they still don't know the reason for that difference. They're content knowing I'm a really kind person."
Because of arrogant Christianity, I'm afraid some of us have swung to the other end. Instead of teaching people, we've opted to "teach with our life" instead. But we can't have one without the other. We can't be hypocrites with our lives, but we can't make it about us either. A gospel that simply makes me look really good is no gospel at all. It's not about us. There's a reason for our good deeds: God has saved us! And, friend, He can save you too.
I gave some advice to this girl doing the homeless ministry. I told her, "It's amazing what you're doing there, but you're doing no favor by letting someone go to Hell unwarned. You have to, maybe with tears in your eyes, tell him the truth. It's good news, but he may not see it that way at first."
And so, it's true with all of us. Being kind isn't enough. Notice Jesus. He loved people so intensely, but it's precisely because of this love that he risked the relationship and told the truth. Contrary to popular belief, there is such a thing as sin. And we do no favors by letting someone drown in it. Being kind is only halfway; we must risk our friendship with others if it means saving their lives.
This goes with Christians and non-Christians both.
Aren't we glad Christ didn't leave us in blissful ignorance? I am so happy He didn't leave me as I was, but led others to me to confront my reason for existence.
The world is asleep in sin. God has called His followers to go around and wake them up. With kindness and love, yes, but some people don't like being woken up. Nevertheless, our calling is still to awaken the sleeping.
May we have the love of God so deeply rooted within us that it overflows into everything we do. May we love someone enough to tell them the truth, regardless of what it does to our relationship with them, because we love them too much to see them drown.
6 days ago