Saturday, December 11, 2010
I began to wonder: if you never told anyone that you were a Protestant, Catholic, Mormon, Muslim, or Athiest - would they know? Could you go 24 hours without saying words specific to your personal beliefs? Could you rely only upon your actions and interactions with other people for the message of your personal beliefs to shine through? If the answer is no - why not?
This does of course include Facebook: posting links, articles, Youtube videos - etc. Could you go a whole 24 hour period without specifically mentioning your personal faith beliefs and relying only upon how people percieve you? Personally, I think more faith and belief is required to be a representative of your faith based upon actions alone.
If you take this challenge, I'll be interested to hear your feedback.
Friday, December 10, 2010
Recently on Facebook, someone asked the question, "What's the best way to gladly make others glad in Jesus?" - which of course, made me think of some memorable pictures and events. Of course, in answer to this very question was a perfect example of Ghandi's quote, ""I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ." If you've never taken the time to read as to why Ghandi felt this way, I encourage you to do so.
Without getting myself involved in a lengthy, time consuming, and potentially frustrating debate on the "right" or "wrong" way to be a "Christian" - I wanted to get my thoughts and personal testimony out on paper.
First, I think it is incredibly important to remember that all people and situations are unique - the way in which one person might be inspired is not the same way another person might be inspired. Second, I think it is important to remember that Christ was a servant. Finally, just a friendly reminder - it was the religious people that were called a "brood of vipers" and literally chased out of the temples with a whip (Matthew 12:34).
With those reminders stated - here are my suggestions for how to make other's glad in Jesus.
1. Service: You don't have to spend money to serve others, but rather by using your time to serve others, you make an impact. Sure, there are needy families who may need material things to conform to society's secular expression of Christmas (and I'm not discouraging anyone from doing this) - and it's super awesome when we use our money to contribute to other people's happiness and well being. However, if we look - there are service opportunities everyday. I challenge you to find one opportunity a day and silently fill it. Remember the Pharisee who proclaimed his good deeds during prayer and the humble publican who simply asked for forgiveness. Take silent joy in service, don't whack the person recieving the service up the head with the "love of Jesus".
2. Forgive: While it's great to make ammends and forgive those in our lives, how apart showing forgiveness to people we don't know at all? Forgiving that person who cut in line at the checkout counter, forgiving the person who stole your parking spot, forgiving the person who ignored your feelings on a topic, forgiving the person who flaked on you, and so forth. Practice forgiveness and patience.
3. Be a Light: Yes, we hear this all the time - "be a light in a dark world" (insert Bible verse here with dramatic silence). But what I mean is be different - make that choice everyday to be different than those around you. This takes observance. And I'm not saying come into work with bright purple hair.
4. Listen: We have 2 ears and 1 mouth for a reason. Too many times, we wait for our turn to talk, listen to what others are saying - even if you think they're crazy.
5. Don't beat people up with your religion: In my blog I have shared plenty of times how the constant "sharing" of how my family was going to hell from my brother and sister in law, pretty much pushed us apart. Beating people up with their evil deeds, telling them how you don't approve of their lives and choices, and then saying, "I'm not saying it, the Bible says it.." simply creates a terrible taste in the mouth for the Bible. Practice unconditional love for others and be a solution not a problem. I remember when my in-laws attended our reception after my family was sealed in the Las Vegas temple for time and eternity how much of a statement that made. Sure, they didn't really talk to anyone, but the fact that they attended an event they clearly felt was damnation for us was a huge statement of their love for our family.
That's it - Maggie Mormon's top 5 suggestions for how to share Jesus with others. I'll wrap up by saying, the most powerful statement my family has ever encountered has been the Sager family. I've written about them in blogs before - but their home is a resting place for the Holy Spirit - they are just that amazing. Did this family always agree with what I said or my husband believed? Nope. But they served others - invited them into their home every week, fed them spiritually and physically, and were genuine friends. This family has forever reminded me that Christ can inspire people to live as He taught, these people are rare - but treasures when you find them.
Be a treasure this season. And only if needed - use words.