Imagine if you had found what you believe to be the cure for cancer. Unfortunately, you are stuck in a position where sharing your discovery puts you at risk for judgement by the rest of the world. Some people think you’re wrong and some people are offended because it’s not their discovery. However, it is the cure for cancer as far as you have determined.
What would be more selfish and immoral—to share your discovery with as many people as possible in hopes of keeping them safe and healthy or to keep your discovery to yourself out of fear of offending someone?
Now, if you call yourself a Christian—or more explicitly, you are someone who follows Jesus—you know what it’s like to have a deep, intimate relationship with God. You know what it’s like to draw your hope from him and to find assurance in the fact that you will never be separated from him. You know what it’s like to be loved unconditionally. You know what it’s like to be redeemed and accepted.
After you have found this gift of salvation and you see so many people hurting in this world, wouldn’t you think that the natural response is to share this gift with the people you encounter who don’t know?
The sad fact is that there are moments when pride gets in the way. I cringe walking by Sanford Mall when the preachers are out there, holding up signs telling people to “REPENT OR YOU’RE GOING TO HELL.” These kinds of people have forgotten what it feels like to be part of a hurting world, and instead of helping to heal they are rubbing salt in already throbbing wounds. They have traded in their relationship with a loving God in favor of a salty, legalistic religion. They are doing the opposite of what Jesus did. Jesus healed the sick, spent time with prostitutes, and picked his chosen friends not from the church crowd, but from groups of fishermen and tax collectors. Jesus knew hurt. And He knew how to love.
But if you did know Jesus and followed him—if he radically changed your life and made you new—would you not be chomping at the bit to share this with the rest of the world? Would it not be more selfish to hold back the knowledge of a life-changing relationship from a hurting world out of fear of offending people?
I say all of this because I’ve quietly been watching and listening and noticing while people who follow Jesus are judged when they share what they’ve experienced with others. Granted, there are people who love Jesus and—bless them—try to share him with others but do so with a condemning attitude. But friends, not every follower of Jesus does this. Today’s world that prides itself on “acceptance” and “tolerance” should practice what they’re preaching. I have watched many instances where Christians have been labeled as “selfish” and “trying to force their religion down throats.” While these feelings are understandable and many times very merited, we must make attempts to understand one another—and understanding followers of Jesus means understanding that they have experienced an intimacy with God that they’re eager to share with you because it has changed their lives for the better and it is their greatest gift.