Thursday, 23 April 2015

Rejected... (a sequel to yesterday...)

News Flash!  People are gonna reject that creed (last week's post), and maybe even the teller of the creed.  Not every one is gonna be excited to hear that story.  But, in case you forgot, they rejected the one that the story is about!  They hung him on a cross!  So relax... tell it anyway.  But don't just tell it... live it.
I remember us trying to get a bunch of our neighbours to study scripture together, some years ago.  Them being from a different faith - Catholic.  Knowing what they believed and what we believed, we thought we had similar ground to walk on, and we could encourage each other in that faith. Well, they came, and one made it very clear that she would not risk us changing their faith. She looked for areas where we would disagree, focused on them, and effectively slammed the door shut to discussion.  It was an uncomfortable event.

Guess what?  That happened some 16 years ago, and we all remember it.  But guess what else?  We are still friends with those neighbours, even the lady who shut us down.  We chose to allow that door to remain closed, in the sense of studying the Scriptures together.  However, we lived Christ amongst them for years.  To this day, we have close relationships with them, have stayed in their homes, eaten with them.  We did go on to have ongoing discussions on faith, but in a more informal, personal (one on one), and less structured way.

I have not always responded as well as we did then.  But I believe the story, I believe in Jesus Christ, I believe in the finished work of the cross.  I believe He has asked me to 'love the world' and He would save them.  When I share the story I must always allow people to chose.  I can not force them to choose Jesus but I can try to love them to Him.  I must love them even if they reject Him, even if they live as the world does.  I need to even be willing to enter their worlds, join them in their lives, and show them unconditional love.

It is probably easier to live in the safety of the church, with people who act like us, but we won't meet those that need to hear the story there.  I have gone to events and places most of my life that were 'out of my comfort zone.'  I have also 'hidden' in the safety of church and church friends.  But I have found my life is much richer when I leave the safety of the boat (Peter) and meet Jesus where He wants me to be.  I have some wonderful friends who chose to reject Jesus and I continue to love them.  I have even told some of them that my desire (my prayer) is for them to come to Jesus.
My challenge to us all is: Believe, yes, but Love also.  Be willing to love those who chose to reject the story.  Never quit loving them, only Christ knows the end of the story.

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