There is so much I would like to say. There is so much I would like to teach people. Especially christians. This week I heard another story of someone being criticized about a choice she made in her work. These things I hear so often! Too often in my opinion. But this girl made a crucial and accurate statement; christians are one of the most judgemental people in the world! I believe it is one of the reasons why churches are getting emptier and emptier by day! The constant judging and criticizing of people is wearing people out.
A couple of years ago, I was walking through town. Two ladies stopped me and asked if I was a christian. Usually I avoid these conversations but this time I decided to give them a chance. I answered that I was, and I expected the conversation to be over in no time. They asked if I was going to church. Again I answered that I was. So far this conversation wasn’t that bad. Then they asked me if I was baptized. Again I answered that I was, believing that I passed the test. But then they said, “When were you baptized”? I responded that I was baptized as a baby. My parents brought me to God as soon as they could, because it was their greatest wish for me to be a member of God’s family! The two women looked at me and became sad. They said, “I am sorry madam but in that case, you are going to hell”! It was a statement that literally pulled the floor away from underneath my feet. I told them that Jesus had said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, because for them is the Kingdom of Heaven”. (You can find this in Luke 18: 15-16 of the Holy Bible) They answered that this may be true, but the bible clearly states that a person can only go to Heaven if he/she is baptized as an adult. I tried for a little while longer to convince them of Jesus’s Love for children but it had no use. I was going to hell and that was that. I ended the conversation before I could say something that I might regret later on. We parted ways and I walked straight to the car. I sat down in it and started crying. I looked up at the sky and said to God, “This is so unfair Father. They are destroying the faith of good people, good christians, this way. Why are they doing this”? I never got the answer, but it made one thing crystal clear to me. In order to bring people to Jesus, we have to convince them with our deeds, instead of our words.
God told the prophet Samuel the most truthful thing about judging other people, by saying, “People look at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart”. (You can find this in 1 Samuel 16:7 of the Holy Bible) I always hold on to this when people judge me. Not a soul in this world knows my heart but God alone. So not a soul can judge me for my my faith because they don’t know what is inside my heart. And exactly in this sense we have to treat other people. If we really want people to come to faith in Jesus Christ we have to stop judging them. We have to teach ourselves to see them as children of God instead of gentiles going to hell. It is not up to us to give faith to people. Someone once said to me, “We sow the seed and God makes it grow. There is nothing more we can do”. We cannot make someone believe in Jesus Christ. We can only show them the love of God by our deeds and explain them why we act the way we do. This is the only way people will see our faith. This is something the apostle Paul said as well in his letters.
We can preach a whole lot of words but words often hurt and chase people away. When Jesus called Peter to become His follower, He said, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (you can find this in Matthew 28 in the Holy Bible) You see what Jesus said here? Teaching them all I have commanded you. When you teach something to someone, you show them how to do it and have them repeat it. That is teaching! Not a teacher stands in front of a class without having studied the material and put it into practise. A chemistry teacher for example will show his students what to do, in order for them to repeat it and learn it. How then can you show Jesus to the people if you don’t act like Him?
People talk, scream and shout all kinds of beautiful words, but if it comes up to deeds they are, at times, absolutely clueless! Jesus said, “Love, like I have loved you. Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you”. Jesus was a man of love who didn’t stay inside the synagogue. He went out into the street showing people how much God loves them. He even gave His life to prove it. By the way, when the criminal, who hung next to Jesus on the cross, asked Him to remember him in His Kingdom, Jesus said, “Today you will be with me in paradise”. Jesus didn’t say, “Well I am so sorry sir but you are not baptized”! No of course not. Jesus loves everyone and is happy with every soul who wants to be with Him.
I had a friend who once told me, “I hate christians and churches and everything that has to do with christian faith and christian people. But not you. You are different. I like you”. Initially I did not know what to do with this information. Nobody had ever said this to me before and I was still very young. But gradually I learned to see this as a compliment. What my friend was saying is, that I didn’t force her to become a believer in Jesus Christ. I wasn’t shoving faith down her throat so to say. I was just being her friend. I was never the one to start about Jesus. Of course, when she asked me questions, I would answer them but I never started about Jesus myself. She knew I was a christian and despite her dislike of christianity, she allowed me to pray silently before dinner at her house. I was young and not sure if I could pray around people who didn’t believe in Jesus. But she was absolutely fine with it. She always allowed me to be myself and I allowed her to be herself. Her friendship taught me that love is the best tool to show Jesus to people. I cannot change the point of view of someone who hates christians by preaching every time I see her, but I can show Jesus love to her, through who I am and hope she gets touched by it. Love touches more than human eyes can see and it is in love where our strength lies.
Like I said, I could go on for hours with all kinds of bible verses and examples. Jesus said so many wonderful things. Great teachings for us to put into practice. The point I want to make is this. Like Peter, we have to take our boat, sail out and go to where it’s deep. We have to throw out our nets and become fishers of men, by showing them who Jesus was in our deeds! If we show God’s love to people, they will truly be touched. Love conquers all kinds of evil and judging is not an act of love. I am not better than you and you are not better than me. All in the end, we are all sinners. Come off your pedestal, be who God intended you to be, and love your neighbor as yourself. And your neighbor is every single person around you, whether you like him/her or not. No one is excluded in the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. If Jesus can love a criminal then it is not up to us to refuse a christian because he/she is not like us. Love like Jesus has loved you and show that love to the world, and you will be…fishers of men!