Speaking with a co-worker today really made me realize just how bad a rap Christians get these days. And who's fault is this?
The Government's? Educators'? Atheist's?
Nope, Nope, and Nope
It's gotta be the ACLU then.?
More and more Christians seem to think it is our right to tell the rest of the world that they are going to hell in a handbasket. Many of my fellow brothers and sisters in the Faith may be surprised to find that telling a fellow human being that they are going to hell unless they subscribe to the Christian way of thinking is hardly the answer to What Would Jesus Do?.
Go in the Bible and point out a time when Jesus told someone outright that hell was waiting for them unless they were converts. What you will find is Jesus saying "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life" and Paul tells us that Heaven and eternal life is assured to those who profess and sincerely believe in the death and Resurrection in Christ for the atonement of our sins.
So am I watering down the Law - that unbelievers aren't going to hell, or that there may not be a hell to begin with? No. There is certainly a hell, and it is and will be occupied. But to decide who will be there? Hell is a terrible place to be, where there is "cursing and gnashing of teeth." But using this as a cheap way to try and make an impact on someone, in my opinion, is wrong. No Christian has the authority to condemn anyone else to hell, or to gain someone heaven for that matter.
All of this falls into what I believe to be true Christianity vs. religious Christianity. A true Christian lives for God and tries to be like Christ. He does not call attention to this, but instead remains content to let his Christian actions do most of the talking. And I say "most" because there are times when God wants us to speak. These times may be in private with a fellow co-worker, or in public defending the Faith. But these times are never telling someone that the jaws of hell are waiting to swallow them up for not believing well enough or at all. In fact I daresay that there are Christians who may be surprised to find themselves with the demons and tyrants of life, and those labeled as (or believing to be) "non-believers" with the angels and saints. I believe this to be one meaning behind the seperation of the goats and the sheep as told in the Gospels.
To keep from being a goat, we Christians must live our lives as ever-present examples - teaching, healing, listening, and forgving as life provides. And everyday a Christian must reflect upon her faith and the Word to be sure that her examples are to God's glory.
Jesus gained crowds because he taught Love, Integrity, Faith, and Wisdom. And when he rebuked sin, he did so with all four of the above in his voice. And so must we. As Christians, we are called to be Witnesses to the Light not Harbingers of Doom. As a Christian, it is not easy out there. But we must have Faith that God will present us with the situations and the right words for those situations.
Live for Christ and Live like Him - I believe with everything in my heart that we as Christians will gain far more for the Kingdom of Heaven than by any other means. Leave the seperating of the Sheep and Goats to the only One who has that Right.