As I write this I sit in the lobby at the Orange Tour stop in Atlanta. There is a quote that Reggie Joiner spoke this morning that has stuck with me. He said it at the Orange Conference this year and it struck me there too, but this time I just can’t shake it.
“If your belief system causes you to be mean to people, you need to reconsider your belief system.”
Wow!!! Does that hit you the same way it hits me? Seriously, when we look around do we ever see people that claim to be Christians that are treating other people badly? Maybe it’s in how the church generally treats the LGBT community. Maybe it’s how we treat the poor. Maybe it’s how we treat drug addicts or alcoholics, or people that struggle with pornography. Maybe it’s simply how we treat people who look different from us.
Think for a moment how YOUR church would react if someone covered in tattoos walked into your church.
Or maybe two girls or guys holding hands.
Chances are the reception for either of these people would not be good in MOST churches. I’m not trying to open a discussion about the right or wrong of any of these things. I am certainly open to discussing it. Meet me sometime, I’ll by you a cup of coffee and we can talk about it, but that isn’t want this post is about.
It’s about how we treat people.
Jesus summed up all of the Old Testament law in one sentence, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” BUT, he didn’t stop there. He then went on to say, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Would we claim Christianity, but hate God? That seem ridiculous, but at the same time, we claim Christianity while hating our neighbors. I know, if I asked most Christians, they would deny hating anybody, but how does that play out in their lives? What do their lives say about how they feel about people? Chances are their lives would say something different from what their mouths say.
Please understand that as with much of what I write, this is something that I struggle with at times as well. I’m not trying to condemn anyone. After all as Paul wrote, “There is no condemnation for those that are in Christ Jesus.” But, I do pray that the Holy Spirit will convict you. I hope that by reading this you will take a serious look at how you treat people and will begin to work to change that.
I understand that this is not necessarily an easy thing to do. In fact in our own nature it is probably impossible. BUT, we no longer live in our own nature. We are no longer slaves to our sinful nature. We have been set free and we have the power of the Holy Spirit to guide us. Pray that God would help you with this. Lean into the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Listen to that still small voice as it speaks to you. If your not sure how to do that, let me know. I’d love to talk more about that.Matt Norman
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