by Kathy Lay
This Week's Verse: 1 Peter 3:15-16, “...And if you are asked about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. But you must do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak evil against you, they will be ashamed when they see the good life you live because you belong the Christ.” (NLT)
I read this on facebook a few days ago by an acquaintance: (Name) "is going to celebrate the seasonal festivities. I will celebrate the winter solstice in the manner I wish to, which involves gifts and do NOT tell me because I don't believe that Jesus of Nazareth was the son of god that I cannot. The “Church” stole my religion, my holidays, and labeled my beliefs as evil. So there!"
If you follow and put your trust in Christ, reading that status update probably knocked the wind right of you like it did me. I was angry, sad, and heartsick all at the same time, especially when I saw that six people “liked” it.
Fourteen comments followed. A few of them echoed her sentiments but as I read through the thread I saw an interesting conversation unfold. One Christian friend responded apologetically for unloving Christians who had condemned her in the past and through some back-and-forth with my friend, left a door open to talk about things if she ever wanted some questions answered from someone who loved her.
This Christian was being the light of Jesus in an area of darkness, lovingly meeting this person where she was with the truth of the Gospel. A real Christmas light of a magnificent sort.
As we approach the Christmas season, many non-believers could echo the thoughts of my facebook friend. When our defensive hackles raise, it is paramount that we let the Holy Spirit exert self-control through us. In this case my initial knee-jerk reaction was to impulsively zip back a sarcastic comment such as “Oh yeah, because the winter solstice is SO worthy of celebrating! Did it die for you?!”
Ahem. You can see that would have done nothing to further the cause for Christ. (Sorry, Lord.) Self-control led me to read the comments instead of...uh, not helping. And the comments revealed that the Lord was working through someone else.
Thank God for the Christian sister that responded in love and allowed room for God to soften a hard heart!
May we do the same.
Lord, forgive me when I allow my defensiveness of you to overtake my emotions to the point when it would cause more harm than good. Infuse me with your Spirit so that its fruit is what people see. And make them hungry for it. Help us to be the light. In Jesus' Name.
Ask God to put people in your path who need to see his light. The Christmas season is a time when many people are more open to the truth if only we Christians approach them non-judgmentally and out of concern and love. Who can you reach out to so that God can “prepare Him room” in their heart?
2 Corinthians 4:4, "Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God."(NLT)
Matthew 5:16, "In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."(NIV)
John 8:12, "When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, 'I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.'"(NIV)