One of the worst “Christian” misconceptions I know of is that if I say I follow Christ, I will therefore judge, criticize, condemn, and vilify anyone who doesn’t abide by the “rules.” The older I am, the more I realize this misconception is because of someone in the past who “claimed” to be a Christian, but really wanted to bully someone with the way they thought the world should act, live, and behave. This action has nothing to do with Christ.
When God sent Jesus into the world two thousand years ago, He sent Him with the purpose of shining light on the dark places, bringing life to the dead places, and bringing hope to the hopeless places.
As believers, when we speak about the Truth, of the right Way of Life, many feel we are condemning them. I have seen family members reach heated levels in conversation because one person has perceived that he or she is being attacked, when really the “attacker” is just saying there is a different view.
I have said before, that love and kindness, grace and mercy, will win the hearts of those who don’t know Christ. The problem I am finding is the preconceived notions and misleading teachings of judgmental people causes many seekers to feel defense toward the Love and Grace being offered to them.
If you are allowing your perspective of the world to become so narrow that you are vilifing and condemning a person who doesn’t think like you, sing what you sing, dress like you, or parent like you, then please, for the ministry of Christ, stop. You are not helping spread the Love of Christ. You are spreading the lies of the enemy who wants us to believe we can never receive what God has already given.
When I met my best friend many moons ago, I tried “beating” the Truth into her with Scripture, telling her she had to ask Christ into her life to avoid hell. (Grace was missing from my approach, my message and me). After the tense discussion on our walk, we arrived at my house where my mom over-heard our conversation. She asked what were talking about and I expressed very passionately, that my best friend needed to accept Jesus.
My mom turned to the sink where she was washing dishes and filled a clean glass with water. Turning back to my best friend she said, “This is the Grace God is offering to you. If you want to, take it. If you don’t want to, that’s fine. He will still hold it out to you until you are ready to receive it.” And then she turned back to the dishes.
Our conversation ended and we went on with our day. But my mom’s simple analogy remained. Nearly fifteen years later, my best friend took that “glass of Grace” and asked Jesus into her life. She has never been the same.
What do you think won her over? My factual Scripture-based argument or my mom’s honest, gracious reality of Who God is and the kind of God He is? That glass of Grace made all the difference.
We need to turn the tide of divisive actions and criticism toward those who don’t know Christ. The only Jesus they may ever meet might be us– what kind of example are you giving? Judgment or Grace?
**note— there are those who will argue for arguments’ sake- do not join in, there will be no “winner.”