We all have the opportunity to make an eternal impact in our world. I'm not talking about the world out there across ocean or across the continent. I'm talking about the world in the next cubicle or across the street or sitting in the bleachers next to you. God has placed you where you are so that you can impact the people in that place. Your life experiences are to be used as a witness of God's grace and love to co-workers, classmates and neighbors. As you do life with the people in your world they get to know you and how important God is in your life. They see whether your relationship with Christ is real or just a Sunday tradition. They hear you speak and get to know the real you.
As you take a stand for what you believe in are you doing it in such a way to alienate others? Are you loud, arrogant and obnoxious when expressing your viewpoint? Do you demean others who disagree with you? What must the world think when they hear Christian brothers and sisters using such hateful tones towards one another. How can we claim to be a follower of Christ and speak with such disdain and hatred about a fellow Christ follower?
What if we changed the way we shared our viewpoints and beliefs? Instead of screaming to be heard, we need to take the time to listen and have real conversations. We also need to do more than just talk. It's like that old saying. "Actions speak louder than words". But how do we take the action?
We can tell people that we are against abortion because we believe that it's murder. We're not wrong in that statement but we can make a bigger impact by taking action. We volunteer at a crisis pregnancy center or pray outside of abortion clinics. We donate to women's centers that help women who choose not to abort their unborn child. We need to reach out and encourage young women instead of showing judgement or disapproval. We need to be supportive of young teen moms and offer to help them as they complete their education.
We can believe that homosexuality is a sin and have Scripture verses to back us up. We can damn homosexuals to hell and feel justified in our self-righteousness. As business owners we can refuse to provide goods and services to the gay community. But does our hate represent Christ's love?
Instead of spending time searching the Bible for verses on how to condemn others, we should study the life of Christ and follow his example. He did not alienate people because of their sexual lifestyle. He showed compassion and built relationships with them. That's what we need to do. We need to take time to build relationships. We don't have to agree with someone's lifestyle to show them the love of Christ.
When we watch the news we can become discouraged by all of the shootings, drug overdoses, kidnappings and brokenness in the world. We tend to want to wrap our family in a nice comfortable Christian bubble. We want to spend our time doing Christian activities with our Christian friends in hopes that our families won't be affected by the world. We can't make an impact on the world if we don't interact with the world. And Christ has commanded us to Go into the world....To be salt and light.....to be His hands and feet.
There is a generation of broken, hurting teenagers and young adults who need someone to come along side of them and show them how to reach their potential. They need you and me to encourage them when they feel like giving up or giving in to peer pressure. They need us to celebrate their victories in the classroom and on the field or court. They need men and women to teach them how to respect authority and to control their tempers. They need adults to listen to them and really hear what they're saying. They need to know that someone is in their corner.
Instead of withdrawing from the troubled kids, we need to reach out to them and show them that they are worthy of love. That there is a God who loves them more than they could ever comprehend. Instead of labeling them as punks or thugs, we need to meet them where they are....in the messiness of their life...and show them the love of Christ. We can't wait for them to walk through the doors of our churches.
We have to leave the four walls of our churches and be the church. We have to host tailgate parties at the Friday night football games or take dozens of tacos into the schools at lunchtime. We need to tutor kids who are struggling so they don't give up and quit school.
We build these relationships so that when a young girl is faced with an unplanned pregnancy we can connect her with the women's center. Or when there's not enough money for a holiday meal, we can gather items for the family. Or when someone loses a family member to gun violence we can console and comfort them.
As you go about your everyday life, I challenge you to start truly seeing the people that cross your path. Don't just look at their actions or attitudes. Look at them with the eyes of Christ. Ask God to show you ways that you can be His hands and His feet.
As you speak to others, I challenge you to consider your words and your tone. Are your words exemplifying the love of Christ? Do you speak the truth in love? Are you justifying hate speech because you think you are right? Remember 1 Corinthians 13 tells us that it doesn't matter what we say, without love we're just a clanging cymbal.
"No matter what I say, no matter what I believe, no matter what I do, I'm bankrupt without love."
Each day we make an impact on this world. My prayer is that we will not make just a good impact, but an eternal one. Go. Show the love of Christ to someone today.
I am a Christian, a wife, a mom, a VBS crafter, a coupon clipper, a thrift store shopper, a football fan, a cook, a student of the Bible and an avid reader.