Friday, October 14, 2011

Hating People Into the Kingdom?

"You're going to hell!"

"You're an abomination!"

"God hates you, sinner! Repent!"

...and the list goes on. These are just a few of the statements that non-Christian friends of mine have heard by "Christian" groups "evangelizing."

Does anyone actually think it works to hate people into heaven? It both breaks my heart and angers me to see my friends being treated this way. I can assure you these tactics do not work.

Sometimes I think it's a miracle that I haven't been rejected by my friends for being a Christian, but they tend to be somewhat more accepting of people different from themselves.

And so was Jesus.

He was criticized by the religious crowd for associating with the ungodly people in his day. Unless I'm mistaken, he never tried to hate them into the kingdom. Instead he taught us to love those within our reach as we love ourselves. He ate with "sinners." He cared for women and children. He touched and healed the diseased. He fed the hungry.

The bottom line is that we are called to love God and love people. We are told to treat people like we want to be treated. We are shown the example of serving others. Jesus lived this himself. His example should inspire us to go out and do likewise. After all, he changed the world doing this.

And I believe we can change our world by following Jesus' example. What if we ate with sinners? What if hung out with those rejected by others? What if we said "Thank you" to those who serve us rather than treating them like it's their job to cater to our every desire? What if we said, "God cares about you" rather than screaming that he hates them? So many what ifs.

I guess I just have a heavy heart because it seems that more and more Christians are missing the point of Christianity. It's not just in the big things, but in the little things we do. And that includes our attitudes and motivations. It just shouldn't be that way.

But it should be this way:

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! --Galatians 5:22-23

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