“Why does it seem like some (not all) Christians tend to push, force and judge others who don’t have the same faith?”
I think a lot of times we come with good intentions! As Christians, we are so excited that our lives have been changed by our faith and our whole worlds are made truly alive and great in the good news of the Gospel. We want to share with everyone the truth that our God is a good God. Sometimes when other people live a different way we may perceive them as judging our way of life when that is really not the case. It’s easy to be defensive when we hear someone trying to convince us that our viewpoints are wrong…. but we shouldn’t look at faith as an offense/defense. It is so much more than that! I think that a lot of people who try to spread the Gospel believe that and have a hard time truly portraying it when interacting with others of a different faith. We want everyone around us to know how great our God is. I was actually an agnostic until my sophomore year of college so have experienced both ends of the situation.
In the Bible Jesus described discipleship as starting with an example. We are called to lead our lives in such a way that people see Christ in the way that we act, live, and treat others. This is not the only way to shine our light but it’s what we should start with!
1Corinthians 11:1 “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ”
Titus 2:7 “In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.”
Matthew 5:14-16 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
However, there are times when people of the Christian faith are judgmental and forceful. No one is perfect – in fact, as a Christian, the biggest reality of all is that we are NOT perfect and that only God is. As human beings we are fallen and flawed. We hurt, deceive, and betray others… just as all other humans do. The Christians that rally in streets with “you are going to hell” signs and spew hatred in other ways are not portraying our God or our faith as it should be. Just as in any other group of people – workplace, sorority, family, etc. – the actions and behaviors of a few does not define the values of the group as a whole. I think that is the most important thing to remember. We could ask ourselves “why do they do this” all day… and for each case it may be different. The “why” really doesn’t matter, though. People will do you wrong and will say the wrong thing. That is why our faith is not based upon others or other people’s description of Christianity. We get our values/way of living by God himself, by scripture, by prayer.
Sometimes it is not the messenger that matters, but the message itself.
It doesn’t benefit us in any way to spend too much time focusing on the negative ways that others portray the faith. Instead, we should focus on ways that we can share the Gospel without being judgmental or forceful. Stay tuned… I will talk about that in my next posting!