Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Colossians 4:5
This verse used to seem like a call to mind our P’s and Q’s around non-believers. Somehow if we lived our lives perfectly enough, they would be drawn to the Christian lifestyle and would start faking it with us. The problem is that none of us is anything close to perfect and that most people can’t relate to perfection. So, how are we supposed to act toward outsiders?
We live in a world where people have become jaded by false claims. Why is every “As Seen on TV” product sold for $19.95, comes with double the order plus a few others things, and ultimately ends up in our garage sales for 50 cents? Maybe because a sucker is born every minute. Seriously, do we need a brownie pan that looks like an old fashioned ice cube tray? Do we need a blanket with sleeves? Why not just put your bathrobe on like a hospital gown? Same thing.
Most people realize that anything worthwhile doesn’t come easily. Everyone who set out to get rich quickly, ended up in the opposite direction at the same pace.
According to a survey by George Barna, people who identified themselves as non-Christians had a higher view of Democrats, real estate agents, movie and television performers, lawyers, and Republicans than they did evangelical Christians (in that order). The only groups that fared worse than evangelicals were lesbians and prostitutes. (Barna Group) I think that we could say that evangelical Christians have a bit of a PR problem. We certainly haven’t been acting wisely toward outsiders. We ranked below real estate agents, come on! (just kidding)
Christians have come across as judgmental, unaccepting, self-righteous, and bigoted. While many of the believers that I know are not this way at all, perception is often reality in the world today.
The 77 million people in America who don’t go to church crave authenticity (so do the ones who attend church). They need to know that Christians have real problems. They need to know that we trust God. They need to know that sometimes we question God. We become frustrated and desperate at times. They need to see that we care for each other and lift each other up. They need to understand that we are willing to help and that we don’t just want their money. They need to see that we’re the real deal.
Who you are, even with all of your shortcomings, speaks far better for the cause of Christ, than the person that you pretend to be. The more that you can learn to be yourself, the more people will see how God is transforming your life.
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