We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased. – CS Lewis (from ‘The Weight of Glory’)
The depiction of people of faith in television programming usually goes one or two ways. Either they are simple minded and bigoted or they are on fire for The Lord only to turn out to be phonies or crooks. Neither depiction leaves anything to be admired. People out in the world view Christians with suspicion, believing all that talk about forgiveness, giving your heart to Jesus, and living a joyful life to be malarky. By adulthood non-Christians have sought out for ridicule or condemnation enough examples of “Christianity” that the genuine offer of everlasting life, forgiveness, love, and grace cannot even be fathomed. Having a personal relationship with a loving all powerful God sounds like a fantasy and believe me non-Christians are quick to question WHY does God allow this or that, if He is all powerful and if He loves us.
One thing Christians err about when it comes to non-Christians happens when they assume they all must be miserable. We have been conditioned to think that way, but often they are pretty ordinary people, many are really good moral people. They may not be content with their lives as they are, but they are chasing their dreams and they don’t want some holier than thou Christian implying there is something better, something infinitely more satisfying. They are as C.S. Lewis said content with making mud pies rather than enjoying a holiday at the beach.
Jesus said we who are Christians should be salt and light in the world. We are to be genuine especially with non-Christians because they hone in on any phoniness. Know what happens when the lid comes off the salt shaker and it dumps into the stew…it becomes inedible. Same is true for shining a bright light directly in someone’s eyes…Ouch! Jesus dined with sinners, he sprinkled his speech with stories, he treated prostitutes and tax collectors and women with respect, and yet, he did not back down when religious folks lorded it over “sinners”.
I have really stewed over witnessing and how to be salt and light. I still struggle but I am thankful that God put people in my life when I was skeptical of “the established church”, who modeled love and grace to me without badgering. What they did was make me hungry to know more. So that when a crisis came in my life, I was willing to turn to God.
And yet still I wonder, how often have I, do I, settle for the way things are, skeptical of anything that looks too good to be true. I think my prayer for others and for myself is that Matthew 5:3 would be a reality every day.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to them.”
I am thankful for a God who picked me out of the mud hole and took me to the seashore even when I kept looking back at the mud hole with longing. Help me help others see all God has planned for those who love him.