What We Are For Rather Than What We Are Against

wpid-wp-1429757790544.jpegLet’s face it, being a Christian in modern America is difficult. Keeping to our convictions and living in a way that brings glory to God and doesn’t pain the spirit is a constant struggle. We live in a world that is obsessed with sex, self and everything that is counter to what God wishes for us. In short, it is very easy to start feeling like an alien living in a country inhabited by the insane. Oftentimes this brings a feeling of isolation and (even more concerning) a feeling that we are somehow morally superior to those around us. At the end of the day we have been commanded to love our brothers, sisters and neighbors, whether they are believers or unbelievers. Unfortunately, many of us are terrible at this.

Since I found Christ last year it has been a constant struggle to not only live in a way that is pleasing to the Lord, but to also not believe that I am morally superior to my non-believing friends. From personal experience, it is easy to slip into condemnation when one is surrounded by so many who are living in a way that we know is counter to their best interests and to what God wants for them. For several months after my salvation I started hyper focusing on various sins (use your imagination) and condemning those who committed them. It took a conversation with a friend (who knew me before I was saved) to really put things into perspective. He asked me a simple question after one of my tirades on the degradation of American culture. He asked me simply if , during my unbelieving days, he would have only talked about the judgement of God and judged my sinful ways, would I have been receptive to going to church or attending a small group? I realized at that moment that the love God has for me and the promise of forgiveness is what drew me in. That’s simple question convicted me in a way that has change the way that I’ve been thinking about others and their sins.

wpid-wp-1429757797067.jpegThere are simple truths in regards to interacting with people. It is easier to judge people than to love them. It is easier to isolate ourselves from those who are difficult to deal with than to inject ourselves in their lives in the effort to reflect the light of God. It is easier to write people off as lost than to live our lives fighting tooth and nail to bring everyone we can in to the flock. It is easier to shut ourselves off from the rest of the world, safe in our churches, and focus on ourselves even though God commanded us to do otherwise. Being a Christian is difficult. Even in the United States where we have religious freedom the very act of prayer is now expected to be done in private in an effort not to be “rude”. It is easy to fall into despair, but God does not command us to live an easy life, he commands us to live a righteous one. He commands us to seek his lost children. We are commanded simply to love. We must love God and we must love our neighbors.

He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” – Luke 10:27

Notice how this verse does not say brothers and sisters or believers. It simply says neighbors. Whether you believe in limited atonement or total atonement. Whether you are an Armenian or a Calvinist, this verse is clear. We are commanded to love everyone. We are not commanded to judge them or to condemn them. Convicted yet?

The problem that many people have with Christianity isn’t the teachings of Christ or of the Apostles. The problem they have with Christianity is the fact that there are many Christians who forget that we are all sinful and that we all fall short of the glory of God, not just the unbeliever. These Christians are so hyper focused on the law that they forget that the whole point of Jesus coming to earth and dying on the cross was to make us right with God. We must save everyone we can, but we will never do it in an effective way unless we move away from the condemnation of sin to the love of people. Wouldn’t it be amazing if Christians as a whole were known for what we are FOR rather than what we are AGAINST? Wouldn’t it be amazing if the only thing that people could say about us is how much we love our neighbors rather then how much we condemn them?

Michael Davis
Senior Editor of Veterans to Christ. Served as a Cavalry Scout from 2005-2009. Iraq Veteran.