Monday, August 24, 2009

Confession

The other day I was getting all worked up about non-Christians saying negative things about Christians.
Obviously, being a Christian, I am a little sensitive and defensive about those things.  I really hate the way some non-Christians view Christians (stupid, naive, prejudiced, backwards, etc). I was reading some comments on-line (don't you just love the internet?) and with each comment I read my heart kept swelling up in anger and embarrassment. 

And then I realized something. 

I don't have very many non-Christian friends... They don't know me... I am terrible at building relationships with them (with people in general, but that's another story). Instead of becoming angry about what they say, I should just be their friend. I don't mean evangelize the snot out of them, I mean be their friend. Hang out. Talk. Listen.

I can't deny that there are many mistakes that Christians have committed in the past (myself included), and still continue to do so today. Many Christians spout hate and ignorance instead of love and acceptance. 

There's a chapter in Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller called "Confession: Coming Out of the Closet." Here's an excerpt of what he wrote:

"For so much of my life I had been defending Christianity because I thought to admit that we had done any wrong was to discredit the religious system as a whole, but it isn't a religious system, it is a people following Christ; and the important thing to do, the right thing to do, was to apologize for getting in the way of Jesus." 

Donald Miller and his friends at Reed College set up a confessional booth on campus and instead of taking confessions from non-Christians, the Christians did the confessing. They apologized for the pain and hurt Christianity had caused, and the shortcomings of the church.  

It's a powerful chapter and one that I greatly appreciate for its honesty and humility. 

I need to be more humble. I need to love others the way God loves them. I need to spend more time building meaningful relationships with all kinds of people. I need to share the gospel not only with my words but with my actions as well. 

7 comments:

Bryan said...

This is a very good post - I told Andy the other day that it's often easy to tell in someone's criticisms of the lost whether the person actually has any unbelieving friends. We don't have to compromise the truth, but we do need to allow the gospel to move our interaction with those who disagree with us.

Whenever we start acting like we're superior and we think that we're somehow smarter than those who are lost, it shows that we're really feeling like our own intelligence saved us instead of God's unmerited grace. Of course, this is what I struggle with regularly, and it shows that I'm still not living out the gospel on a daily basis.

Merari said...

My confession:

I'm sometimes the one that criticizes other Christians. I'm the one that views other Christians as stupid, naive, prejudiced and backwards.

then I remember, there is no spiritual gift of criticism and/or judgement. Not even towards other Christians.

ps. If there WAS a spiritual gift for criticism and judgement, I'd totally have it. :-)

alexita said...

I struggle with this daily. my brother is a non-believer, and it's really hard for me to remember that I'm representing Christ in everything I do, in his eyes. So sometimes when I snap at him or do something impulsive, I feel like I'm just taking two giant steps back in getting him to know Christ. And when I do those things, I feel like he'll just generalize and say that Christians are hypocritical. It's frustrating and exhausting, but I take it day by day. And I try to remember that we should "preach the gospel at all times, and when necessary use words".

Jennifer said...

I run into this problem a lot. My husband and I are both Christians as well, and we attend a liberal arts school so you can only imagine the heat we catch.

If there is anything I've learned, it's to be slow to anger. It's frustrating being called "close-minded" for believing a certain way, when those who are saying that won't listen to a word you say about God. Funny how that works.

God Bless!
jenn

Gabby said...

You know, I was thinking about this particular topic in general the past two weeks. Everytime someone makes a joke about Christians, especially on TV (like on Family Guy) I get disgusted, upset, or a combination of many negative emotions.

The best thing we can do is pray for them. I think we can learn a good lesson from Jim Gaffigan here (check out the first 30 seconds of this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2k_9mXpNdgU&feature=fvw). If we approach someone and start preaching our butts off, more often than not, our evangelization efforts will bear no fruit. Not even a seed will be planted.

Seeds are planted, usually, through our actions. I've learned from St. Francis de Assisi that same quote that Alexandra left before. From our actions, someone may ask "Why are you so giving?" or "Why do you care about me so much?" That's our time to start spreading the love of Jesus, except this time, with words.

vanityofvanities said...

I love the quote! Fantastic.

Fawn said...

i appreciate this post. Building friendships is very important, and time consuming in way, but very worth it.