Do You Offend With Love
I know what I believe and who I am. I believe that as Christians, we have to respect those who believe differently than we do. We provide a MUCH better Christian witness when we just LIVE our lives as Christ wants us to, rather than trying to shove our beliefs down people’s throats. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t stand up for our beliefs or share our beliefs, but you can do that in a loving and kind manner. That’s what I think Christ wants for us to do. For example, there is a person I know who is gay. While I do believe that homosexuality is a sin and I have even told them in a loving way what I believe, that doesn’t mean that I can’t love and care for them. We are to hate the sin, yet love the sinner. This person knows that I don’t agree with their lifestyle, but they certainly know that I love and pray for them and they often come to me for my opinion and advise. If a person rejects the truth of Christ’s teachings, all I can do is to continue to live my life as the best Christian witness I can and continue to pray for them. I’m in no way saying that we should try to be people pleasers…we should always be GOD pleasers first. But you attract more bees with honey than with vinegar. If you make yourself a very vocal, opinionated person (your way of the highway), you are going to scare away those who really need the truth.
Likewise, ye wives, [be] in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation [coupled] with fear. — I Peter 3:1-2
While this verse specifically speaks of a wife winning her husband to Christ by her conduct, I don’t see why this does not also apply to those around us. I know of several people who were led to Christ simply because of the behavior of those around them. They saw something “different” in a Christian friend or relative and were drawn to that difference. They asked questions and the Christian gave them things to think about. That doesn’t mean that the Truth did not offend them…the Truth is meant to offend the sinner. But there’s a difference between offending with love and offending with anger and hate.
Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. –Matthew 5:43-45
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second [is] like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” –Matthew 22:37-40
Christ calls us to love our neighbors AND our enemies. This doesn’t mean that we should accept sin as okay. This does not excuse sin in anyway. BUT we are to love those around us and we should speak to them and treat them with love. We are to accept them as human beings and treat them with love, but that doesn’t mean that we have to accept their sins. I do believe that we aren’t to club them over the head with our Christianity/beliefs either. I grew up with the standard of “Nice Matters”. There’s a nice way and a not-so-nice way of handling things. I really think that Christ wants us to handle these situations in a loving and prayerful way…not an “I’m right, you’re wrong” sort of way.