Your Morning Cup of Inspiration

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Our world is currently at war. It isn’t a war of vans hitting pedestrians, suicide bombers or knife-wielding lunatics.  Those are just the consequences of this war.  We currently are in a war of ideas.

These ideas range from whether people should be able to freely practice their religion – or not. Or whether women should have the same freedoms and opportunities for education and professional advancement as men – or not.  And whether ideological differences give one human being the right to attack another – or not.

It is a war of good ideas against evil ideas. In this war, then, as Christians it is our job, nay our responsibility, is to spread good ideas.  That is the only meaningful weapon that we have against the evil that currently pervades our world.

The first thing that we can do to spread good ideas is to stop being too shy to express what we believe. Very often, we don’t want to share what we believe because we don’t want to annoy or offend others with our beliefs.  So, we say nothing.

However, we can share our beliefs without being condescending. For instance, I can tell someone that I am a Christian (and that I believe in turning the other cheek and in serving others) without implying that the other person is wrong-headed if they practice another religion.  As Christians, what we want to do is to participate in an exchange of ideas with others.  That means that we aren’t running around trying to “save” people by telling them that their religion is wrong.  That isn’t helpful.

Instead, we need to begin the conversation by telling others what we believe about God and life. We then we need to listen to what they believe about God and life.  And hopefully while talking to one another, we will find areas where we have common ground.  That common ground then will be the basis on which we can work together.

Importantly, if we are going to tell others what we believe, we have to practice what we preach. We can’t talk about Christian love, and then insult Muslim women who wear a head scarf.  We can’t talk about Christian service, and then turn a blind eye to refugees.  We can’t pretend to believe in peace, and then excuse excessive use of force by our police.  And we can’t espouse Christian justice, if we refuse to support gay rights.  When we do, our Christianity is shallow and our ideas are unpersuasive.

Christianity is a religion that, at its heart, is about how we can live more harmoniously together. The New Testament gives us a blueprint for creating a world in which we treat others with kindness, and in which we care for those who struggle.  It is a religion that is all about holding ourselves to the highest standards of ethics and morality.  These are ideas that are worth sharing and spreading.

But the greatest power that Christianity has in this war of ideas is the Christian message of hope.  The Christian message is that no matter how terrible things may appear, we are not alone.  God is with us.  The message is that no matter how many mistakes you have made, God loves you.  And there is no mistake that you can make that is so great that God will not forgive you.

That is the most powerful message that we, as Christians, can send to would-be terrorists, skinheads, white supremacists, and suicide bombers. God loves you.

People who are attracted to groups that promote hate and violence are people who do not know God’s love. They are people who feel left out of society.  They feel unloved, unaccepted and forgotten.  They probably have felt the sting of rejection or the pain of abuse.  So, they are attracted to groups who condone their venting their anger at the world.

If we want to stop these individuals from going down the wrong path, we need to share with them the love of God. We need to be ambassadors of God’s love on earth by treating every person that we encounter with kindness and respect.  And maybe, if they feel that love of God from us, groups like ISIS, the KKK and others won’t seem so attractive anymore.  Maybe then we, as Christians, can truly rid our world of hatred and establish heaven on earth.

(Photo Courtesy of Pexels)

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