I was reading Rachel Held Evans' blog entry titled “Why real conversation requires risk” and in it she makes a point to show how we get away from conversing with people as Christians …she says in it:
“When it came down to it, I was talking at people, not with them. They were the ones with something to learn, not me.”
The book UnChristian does a great job at showing the view young outsiders of the church have and why it should matter to Christians. One of the startling "bummers" in the book is that most outsiders feel we do everything to drag them into a church, then nothing to grow and cultivate that faith...it is like we are dog wardens, just looking to toss them into the van and lock them up, not caring what happens next. I have tried to change my idea of what it means to love someone, and love them where they are and who they are and trying to help them become who God dreams they can be. But when we are quick to only respond to people with judgment and consider them just another number, it reflects on my true agenda. If my agenda is only to get you to “become” a Christian, and then I am done with you, I have missed out on what we are really called to do in the Great Commission-helping to restore and reconcile a fallen relationship between creation and Creator.
The book also takes a look at the notion that Christians are hypocritical, judgmental, too political, over-zealous, and other not so bright spots. When I read it, and read some of the reactions to those who I try to show God’s love to, I wonder how often I also fall into that description, trying to show love that is all wrapped up in judgment and prejudice to the point it no longer looks like love anymore.
While attending the University of Toledo, there was a college class I took called Interpersonal Communication, and in it we discussed how people talk and interact and all the social, psychological and mental games that are played intentionally and unintentionally. One of the things she said was that people often wait for another to finish talking and already have a response, as opposed to really taking in what the other is saying. In other words, you stop listening to me halfway through my conversation only to wait for me to breathe-and as soon as I stop, you inject your thoughts/opinions/feelings on something I said at the beginning of the conversation. How frustrating and rude to someone just wanting to be heard-think about how many people may have been trying to open their heart to you, only to have it squashed and closed down with a quick, judgmental comment. The hands and feet of Jesus require me to display a loving and listening heart.
Have you taken the right steps to show your faith to people in a loving and constructive way?