Make a Difference, Not a Point
I was brought up in a Church, a wonderful Church made up of good people, that met every Sunday. I considered myself a good little Christian. Then, one day, someone outside my faith asked me what my faith was about. I could tell them what my Church was against, but, other than God, I couldn’t tell them what we were for.
Many times, as Christians, we take a stance against something: divorce, abortion, homosexuals, and when I was younger, even the equal right’s amendment for women (which still hasn’t passed). Being against something is easy, it makes a point. But that’s the coward’s way out. That’s the Pharisees way out. Remember the Pharisees who asked Jesus trick questions in public to try to get him to stumble?
Pharisees: “Who authorized you to preach?” Jesus answered, “Well, who authorized John the Baptist?”
Pharisees: “Should the Jews pay taxes to Caesar?” Jesus picked up a coin with Caesar’s face on it and answered, “Render unto Caesar what it Caesar’s.”
The more they tried to trip Jesus up and failed, the more desperate they became to discredit him. It was the Pharisees who got all upset because Jesus hung out with people who were not ‘clean’ – meaning they were not like them.
Jesus had no problem recruiting an apostle who was, at the time, a tax collector. He had no problem having meals with people who did not believe in the same God. Jesus didn’t judge them. He met them where they were, as they were, found common ground with them, and taught them a better way. This angered the Pharisees, and ultimately led to the crucifixion of Christ. But, Jesus knew this was going to happen, and he taught people about God’s love anyway in order to make a difference in the lives of all people, not just those who knew God already. That’s not to say that Jesus suspended his morals, but he understood that in order to reach people, he had to put himself out there with them.
When he met an adulterous woman in the street, he didn’t say, “Get away from me you skank!” He showed compassion and said, “You are forgiven. Go and sin no more.”
I’ve attended services where we were called to action, encouraged to shake our heads in disbelief, and rallied to fight against something other than our own sin. We had pamphlets and bumper-stickers at the door: They basically said -“Pro-Life” “Anti-Gay” “Women should be subservient to men”. ( BTW: When that last one was passed out, the men in that church didn’t eat well for a while.) But, thankfully, I’ve seen a shift lately, and I think it’s wise. Many churches are now being encouraged to fight for something we believe in: unconditional love.
Jesus never expected those who did not know God to be held to the same standard of those who knew God. When Jesus got angry, it was at the money-changers in the temple who knew better – they just chose not to do better. He never got angry at those who didn’t know God’s laws. He taught them God’s message of love. He won them over with the one weapon that trumps evil every time: unconditional love.
Here’s to making a difference, not a point – let’s show the world what we are for by acting as examples. Let’s hang out with those who don’t know God. Let’s love those that think we’re crazy. Let’s love on people who think they’re not lovable. It’ll be messy and sometimes scary. It’ll take more time and effort than making a point, but making a difference always does.
If you cannot see the video, try this link:“Somebody Like Me” by Jason Crabb