Thursday, April 14, 2016

Approaching Others

"Did you know smoking is bad for you?"
Asking this directly to a lady with cigarette in hand did not seem like the most politically correct way to begin a conversation, but nevertheless this awkward teenage boy asked away.  He continued to dig himself into a hole by telling her the devil made her do this, and that she will have cancer.  Actually, his exact words were, "if you smoke, you have cancer."

I cringed thinking about the lack of social skills this boy had been raised with. Where were the adults in his life? Why did he think it was ok to just call someone out on this? While it was (admittedly) quite funny to watch this interaction, as the lady he approached had a great sense of humor, it was also somewhat sad. It is just not ok to hover over someone pointing out their wrongs.

But of course this made me think. How do we push others away with the things we do and the things we say?  While we may be more accepting of differences in areas of dress and food and alcohol use, there's a lot of calling out theological differences. We want to prove that we're right. We want to show that we've done the historical research, the Greek translations, the cultural studies, to make our point. This comes out in the church, in our small groups, in our facebook posts, and in our passive aggressive sermons. This splits communities, thus causing a divide amongst the kingdom of God.  All for things that (typically) don't matter in the long run.

So how are we raising our (awkward) kids? How are we showing the love of God rather than pushing doctrine down each others' throats? Think about it. Do the words and actions we say and do draw people closer or push them further from Christ?

Take a step back. Think about our approach. Realize that coming at people with words rather than love is not at all the way Jesus approached us. He loved first, then actions accompanied and built up the kingdom rather than tearing it down. He ate and drank (and maybe even smoked) with the sinners, so let's strive to be more like that. He is our example.

*disclaimer: this is not a post to bash this simply got me thinking about how we approach others. Please realize people are more in-depth than face-value. :)