Saturday, August 4, 2007

Causing Another to Stumble

Tonight I had a very interesting conversation with our neighbor, Becca. She's a total sweetheart, has five amazing kids whom my kids love, and is a very compassionate and loving person. In short, we enjoy her family's company. Lately, I've been taking some quiet time on our front porch to do some reading. When I saw her out, I asked how she'd been feeling (she's had some really bad allergies as of late) and if her allergies had improved. We began chatting and I soon found that we had several things in common. We were both raised in religious home, both suffered from migraines (although she is much more informed and educated about hers than I am), both are former strippers, and both have been seriously affected by Christian hypocricy.

Personally, I believe the Bible teaches us how to conduct ourselves and how we should be set apart from this world and it's standards, teaching, and behavior. However, this discussion can easily become a grace versuses works conversation so I steer clear from these unless the other person I'm talking with fully understands the importance of both and the eternal reflections of both (ie - grace alone saves not works, however we will stand accountable for our works before the Father).

As we were saying good-night, I casually invited her to church. They know we were LDS and left, they know that we actively attend our current church's services, and they know I am working with the homeless. So they know, from their point of view, that we are religious. Our church, from our perspective, is liberal. Not in their secular or political stances - but rather how they approach the gospel. In comparison to other churches and Christians I've seen or met - they understand that the gospel is for everyone, not just a pre-conceived notion of what a Christian looks like. They try to be sensitive to those who are not believers - which is awesome, and show them - through service - the love of Christ.

When I asked her to services, I also mentioned that Steve had told me that they weren't religious so I understood if they didn't want to attend. She shared with me that she was a Pastor's kid and that it had tainted her. That she knew many other leaders in various churches and that they talked one way and walked another. Including her parents. After she moved out, because of this knowledge, she just couldn't attend church. She didn't see Christians being Christians. They were what are commonly known as, Sunday Christians. I shared this with her as well. I shared my own story - briefly - with her about my teen pregnancy and how the "Christians" treated me in my Southern Bible belt town.

After saying good-night, I was strongly reminded about how our actions strongly affect those around us. If we, as Christians, walk in direct contradiction to the Lord, His walk, His Word - then of course, people will see us as hyprocrites and take the message we have - of Christ - less seriously as well.

"Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God" - 1 Cor. 10:32

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