You may have heard about it- there's a war on Christmas. We hear about it every year, people not saying Merry Christmas, Starbucks cups not being "Christmasy" enough, and this year in my very own state of Texas, in Killeen ISD a Christmas decoration had to be removed because it was, in fact, too much about Christ....Mas........... Charlie Brown has been Censored! One news article read....
It's very easy, as a Christian to feel an amount of anger about this. It also feels like every day, the rights of Christians are slowly being stripped away. The right to worship how we choose is, after all, part of our country's founding documents. How is this happening?
Well, as you can imagine, I've been thinking a lot about this. I've been talking to God a lot about it too, and
I think we need to consider that it might be the Christians' fault to some degree.....
Let me explain: As much as we want to pretend otherwise, our country is made up of all types of people. Many do not share our faith. While we know the ramifications of this, they either do not, or do not care. It is not our job as Christians to save the world. It's God's. It's our job to sow the seeds.... and let Him work on people's hearts....
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When we, as Christians talk to others with our Christian-eze and make them feel dumb for not knowing what we're talking about, we go against the Gospel.
When we, as Christians, expect others to agree with our standards because the Bible says so, we go against the Gospel.
When we, as Christians, get angry with others for not saying "Merry Christmas", we go against the Gospel.
When we, as Christians, shame others for the sin in their lives, either through our words or our actions, we go against the Gospel.
I've really begun to feel that the reason there is a war on Christmas, and not just that, but a war on Christianity, which is a complex issue. At the gateway it's because we have allowed ourselves to be viewed as aggressors. Jesus never said we should bring people to Him through aggressive behavior, through shaming, through shunning, or through angry words.
I have several people who are close to me who are not believers. On many occasions people tell me of the ways that they have been hurt by people in "the church". Doesn't matter which building, doesn't matter the denomination, when you are unkind to someone on the basis of their sin, or their lack of God in their life, you speak for THE CHURCH. People watch us every single day to see how we respond to different things. How do we respond to adversity in our own lives, how do we respond to those who believe differently than us, how do we respond to our own sin? When we lash out at someone for attacking our Christianity, we essentially attack back. Think, if you were on the outside looking in at our church, would that make you want to learn more about what this Jesus thing is all about?
I know this is a slippery slope, and a dangerous one. I have watched my own denomination stop calling sin, sin, and embrace it. I'm not happy about that at all. I don't believe watering down the Gospel is the way to bring people to Christ either. In fact, when we become like society there's not to come "to".... When we are not set apart, we are not set apart. But, you can be set apart in your heart, in your actions, in your thoughts without keeping yourself set apart from non-believers.
St. Francis of Asisi said, "Preach the Gospel often, and if necessary, use words". This has been my mantra for a long time.
I don't believe that God wants us to try to bring people to Christ through our Bible Knowledge (which is super important to have, but not to flaunt), or through our calling out of others' sin in their lives (which we have enough of our own to call out to keep ourselves busy). I believe that our lives are to be the message that brings people to Christ. No, I'm not saying tell someone something counter to the Gospel. Sin is sin is sin. Don't water it down, but we don't need to call people out, either. If they want to know if you think areas of their life are sinful, when they are comfortable, they will ask. And that is when you speak the truth in love and not in judgement.
Let's be the light to others this Christmas season. Let's show the world how Christians love each other. Let's give more of ourselves, our things, and our time to those who might not darken the door of our churches, and show them what Jesus was really about. (It wasn't harsh judgement of others)
Let me know what you think in the comments below!