Reaching Out

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You need not venture any farther than WordPress to notice that we Christians don’t always have the best reputation as a group.  Why is it that the larger community has a poor impression of us?

It could be many things, popular culture, bad press, envy, resentment. sin…

Maybe we can’t do much about those things.  Yet, I’m sorry to say that it can be other things, too.  For instance, how do we look to the rest of the world when we fight amongst ourselves, when we do not live the way we preach?  What will they think of us when we show hostility and condemnation to the larger community?  What will they think of us when we talk about love but don’t show any?  What will they think of us when we pretend to be superior to them because they are wretched sinners and we live in the light?

Not much would be my guess.

If this were only about people thinking badly about Christians, I wouldn’t really be concerned; who cares?  The problem is that there is much more at stake.  When Christians have a bad reputation, the Gospel we represent also has a bad reputation.  Thus, if the people in your neighborhood think badly of Christians, they will also think badly of the Gospel, and if that happens, millions will die without Christ and we will be the cause… or at least part of the cause. Are you OK with this thought? I’m not!

We like to speak of keeping Christ in Christmas.  I wonder, should we actually go the next step?  Tell me what you think about this idea: Let’s keep Christ’s love in Christmas.  Let’s put His love on display in our lives.  No more condemnation, no more spiritual and moral superiority, no more hypocrisy. Just love, compassion, understanding, patience, hope, joy and sharing.

This could be the Season of Salvation!

About Don Merritt

A long time teacher and writer, Don hopes to share his varied life's experiences in a different way with a Christian perspective.
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16 Responses to Reaching Out

  1. Great lesson. Just read an article about views on Catholics. It made me think, is this really how we are viewed? Being raised Catholic, I never had any bad feelings of Christians. Honestly working in communion to bring people to God, through Jesus is where my heart lies. Practicing Catholicism works for me.

    • Don Merritt says:

      Well I think that needs to be the “bottom line” whether we are Catholic, Protestant or whatever name you want to be called, Christ and His priorities must be first. Hey, thanks for the comment, I do appreciate it!

  2. paulfg says:

    Lovemas. Godmas. No critical mass needed. Christlovemas – it’s not just for Christmas.

  3. People Empowerment Project says:

    Your empathy for the cause of Christ is most appreciated.

    However, we don’t want to misplace our sympathies, and waste our energy on things, processes, M. O.’s that are largely overlooked in the long run.

    The fact is, we rarely know who we are having a discussion with when it is online. Devil’s advocates abound in fleecy garments, if you know what I mean.

    We also do not know at what stage of growth and maturity a believer may be in, if we truly believe a responder is truly a follower of Christ. Paul discussed the natural man, the carnal believer, and the spiritual believer. How can we know?

    Since we are not omniscient, the best we can do is to apply some didactic communication “science” to our interaction.

    Namely, to ask questions, to clarify statements, and to actually communicate based on understandings, rather than based on what we think we know about what has been “said”. This is especially true since we are lacking in other aspects of human communication, such as vocal tone, nonverbal cues, et al. Perhaps most importantly, perhaps we should discuss some things via private message, instead of adding one more brick in the wall, not just because the world is watching, waiting to accuse us, but to esteem others higher than we esteem ourselves, knowing that what we have done to these… (you know the rest of the quote.)

    • Don Merritt says:

      I am so sorry, for it would seem that I have done a poor job of communicating in this post. I am not talking about reaching out online, I’m referring to real life where we can indeed have actual relationships, and where our behavior is clearly seen. Of course if we behave like “jerks” online, that doesn’t help our cause all that much, either.

      • People Empowerment Project says:

        No need to apologize. I simply need to follow my own advice, Don. Asking the right questions would have helped. In view of the misunderstanding, feel free to leave or omit my thoughts to guide the discussion in the direction you want it to go. Most importantly, THANK YOU for clarifying graciously.

  4. mitrentonag says:

    As a recovering fundamentalist who dares not throw the baby out with the bath water who also pastors a church in a movement that is far too often marked by the kind of concerns you raise I think the root is a basic misunderstanding of the nature of Christian faith by a good many otherwise sincere Christians. I think the issue comes down to a practical belief system that is overly dominated by rules and proper doctrine (not to minimize the importance of these in their proper place) rather than marked throughout by the life and liberty that comes with the Holy Spirit. I know its a bit too fuzzy and grey for the engineering types among us (as a former University of Michigan engineering student, I know of what I speak), but I believe it to be the unavoidable reality of our intended nature as image bearers of the living God to the world about us. – Jim Kushner

    • Don Merritt says:

      I know what you mean, Jim, and I agree wholeheartedly. We’ll just keep on reaching out to the saved as well as to the unsaved and help where we can! Thanks for the comment!

  5. chaplynne says:

    When I think of how the ‘hate’ expressed by some groups, claiming to be Christian, have contributed to the bad ‘reputation’ Christians have, it grieves me. Thanks for such an encouraging article to help us focus on what we can do to bring ‘the love of Christ’ back into Christmas.

  6. brethern says:

    I agree fully to your point. We lack in the very things we preach.

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