Nope, my blog didn’t make it, and that’s OK. There are a lot of excellent Christian Apologetic Blogs available on the Internet right now and I am thankful for that. I’ve had some modest success during the last year or so since I have been able to dedicate some serious time and effort to producing what I think is positive content, that builds up the Church, the body of Christ. And I can honestly say that I have gained as much, if not more, than what I have put into producing my blog content.
I’ve met some truly inspiring people, from so many different walks of life and in so many different circumstances, that it’s pretty hard not to grow and have your “big picture” enhanced. Different nationalities, different social backgrounds, different appreciation of God’s love and mercy and the wonder of His creation. One of the amazing things about the Christian Apologetics Blog community is the talents I am exposed to, the beauty of some of my Christian brothers and sisters faith, and the dedication that so many of them demonstrate. Many that I have come to know and care for are now included in my daily prayers and I am truly grateful for having come to know them, even if it is only via the Internet. I am indebted to many of you and I sincerely thank you for the wisdom, tenderness and beauty of your faith. You build me up. I could list your names but you know who you are and that is part of the beauty of this “extended” Christian family.
As Christians, the Word of God tells us that we are to encourage and build one another up (1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV) and there are many Christian Apologetic Blog authors and organizations who do this and do it very well, but ….. I also see an alarming trend by some, to tear down and paint with large strokes of criticism.
I know that there is a need to understand why we as Christians don’t accept many of the “norms” of our society and to educate the Church about these matters. I also know there is a need to stand up for our beliefs and freedoms. But what I often see missing is the love that is supposed to accompany our criticism. I read an interesting blog post today by Natasha Crain that commented on the Nashville Statement. If you have the time, take a look at it: christianmomthoughts.com
I also know that there is a fine line that can too easily be crossed, where criticism becomes hatred or distain. As Christians, we are asked to be careful about that line and to “gently” and with “respect” give our response (1 Peter 3:15 NIV). I know it is not always easy.
Most of us are familiar with the Biblical conflict that is associated between Samaria and Jerusalem, when the 12 tribes of Israel divided into two kingdoms. The northern kingdom of Israel, established its capital first at Shechem, a revered site in Jewish history, and later at the hilltop city of Samaria, where as the southern Nation of Israel (Judea) continued to worship at Jerusalem. Check this link for a more thorough history. There are countless modern parallels to the Jewish-Samaritan enmity—indeed, wherever peoples are divided by racial and ethnic barriers. Perhaps that’s why the Gospels and Acts provide so many instances of Samaritans coming into contact with the message of Jesus. It is not the person from the radically different culture on the other side of the world that is hardest to love, but the nearby neighbour whose skin colour, language, rituals, values, ancestry, history, and customs are different from one’s own.
And yet, Jesus deliberately chose to use the Samaritans as an example when he gave us the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37 NIV). And we also are given the instance when Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:1-42 NIV). And there are other examples.
Did Jesus show gentleness and respect, yes He did, my question is why don’t we?
There is a reason why Jesus acted in the manner that He did and used the words that He did. We need to seriously take His examples and His logic or His understanding behind it, into our approach for witnessing, both within and without the Church.
Too often, we set ourselves up for rejection because the over riding tone that we present is one of condemnation.
If there is one thing that this world needs now, it is love. And I’m talking about how we as Christians demonstrate love between ourselves, the love that as Jesus stated, would identify us as His disciples (John 13:35 NIV). And what kind of love are we talking about, 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NIV pretty well spells that out. Patient, kind, does not envy, does not boast, is not proud, does not dishonour others, is not self-seeking, not easily angered, keeps no records of wrongs, does not delight in evil, rejoices with the truth, protects, trusts, hopes, always perseveres, never fails.
Seems to me that we have a long way to go.
I’ve been reading through the Old Testament as of late and it is so easy to see how the kingdoms of Judah and Israel missed the mark, time and time again and how God in His mercy, continually reached out to them to make Him their God in truth and in spirit. There are a lot of similarities there, with Judah and Israel and the Church today, if you look for them.
Maybe if we spent more time on our knees, confessing out own shortcomings, we probably wouldn’t have near as much free time to focus on condemning others.
Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!