Thursday, May 31, 2007

"Religion"

Has religion destroyed us? For years, religions all over the world have separated people from coming together. Christians separate themselves with the various types of sins each person commits. Forgiveness has been forgotten. Love is something that ended up being conditional; unlike what 1rst Corinthians 13:4-7 has to say about it. We’ve deemed everyone judgmental, intolerant or hypocritical if their beliefs aren’t the same as ours. But how can you tell if someone is giving you good advice as a Christian over the other?

I believe it’s by words, which are Christ-like. It’s the actions, which are Christ-like. Your words will fall upon deaf ears, if you speak with a forked tongue, or lash out with profanity while speaking about God and Christian-related matters. Jesus never did any of this with his techniques of teaching. The words you choose show your true character. Of course, we all get angry at times and say strong-worded phrases to get our point across, but when someone starts spewing hateful insults with a siding of profanity, you have to wonder about their true motives. Can you really take Christian advice from this type of person? Are they credible as a Christian in order to help you? Which will you choose?

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh words stir up anger. ~Proverbs 15:1

Mockers can get a whole town agitated, but those who are wise will calm anger. ~Proverbs 29:8

People with good sense restrain their anger; they earn esteem by overlooking wrongs. ~Proverbs 19:11

Don’t sin by letting anger gain control over you. Think about it overnight and remain silent. ~Psalm 4:4

When I used to work for a call center for a major telephone company, in our training seminars, they said, “You’re voice is the face of our company when customers call in.” It basically indicated that when someone calls in for the first time, his or her first impression is “you”. We were trained to say a warm greeting and handle irate customers in the most tactful way as possible. Why can’t we use this in our daily lives? Our voice is the face of who we are.

Your tone, your choice of words and your actions can have an everlasting effect on someone. I’m guilty of hurting other people with words. I think it’s safe to say that everyone has had a downfall or two with bad choice of words, but in a sincere apologetic manner, it can go a long way – of course with forgiveness involved. In the bible, it states that you can debate and argue with your friend, but if you insult them, you’ll lose them completely. I firmly believe that. Even if forgiveness has taken place, an insult can manifest into a scar. Forgiving is great, but forgetting is hard for most of us, because we’re human. We’re more delicate than we make ourselves out to be.

I also want to say thank you, to a reader of mine who just apologized to me. I was hurt over his words, but taken aback by his apology. I fully accepted his apology and forgave him completely. We don’t see things eye-to-eye, nor do we handle things the same way, but the one thing we have in common is our love for the Lord.

Forget about “religion”. Think “relationship”…A relationship with God. A relationship with those around you. A relationship with yourself to know who you are in Christ- to know that you’re “right” with God.

Forgiveness
Respecting one another
Healing
Yielding to those who have different views and beliefs than your own
Words to uplift and edify
Encouragement
Words of hope
To identify those who love God
To identify everybody has a unique relationship with God
To love God with all your heart
To love His children as you would yourself
Putting aside your judgment and seeing the person as a human
Acceptance
Tolerance
Faith
Hope
Love
Patience

They all go hand-in-hand with being a loving Christian. I admit, I have some work to do as far as the list above. I'm not perfect.

If we incorporate these things I’ve listed above, I believe we can manage to live in a world where people can have different beliefs, different lifestyles, and different relationships with God. If you disagree with another Christian, simply state your beliefs and let God take control from there. People cannot change people. Only God can change people.

Is it possible that we can live like this? Probably not, but it’s a great idea concept to think about at least. I dare you to take a different stance on how you approach someone who’s a Christian, yet with different views. Will you judge them? Ridicule them? Hurt them? Belittle them? Or, will you listen to them? Will you tell them your side of faith, as opposed to shoving the scriptures down their throat? Will you also understand that many people interpret scriptures differently? How can we argue with the people who wrote the bible? Who will clear it up for us? Will you encourage people that God loves them regardless? And will you pray for them?

How will you hold yourself up as a Christian- by love or with hate? Will you let “religion” destroy all of your relationships, simply because people have different beliefs? It may just destroy the relationship you have with God.