For those wondering if I’ll ever go back to not being serious, fear not. This coming week, my posts return to normal (or; they stop being normal. Whichever makes you feel more comfortable). We return to random stories and sub-plots, and I try to stick to posting every Wednesday. For now, though, I would like to tie something up that’s been on my mind for a while.
Within moments of stepping off that potentially joyful experience known as public transport during one of my infrequent visits to the varied land of Belfast City Centre two months ago, the title of a future blog entry that I thought I’d never write popped into my head. It all happened rather suddenly. I was expecting the usual British day trip, where people suspect you of wanting to rob them should you so much as smile vaguely in their general direction, but what I found instead was the most outward display of happiness and joy that I think I’ve ever seen in Belfast, in the form of a group of Christians singing and dancing for all to see.
But I will admit something struck me as odd about the situation. They wore blue t-shirts, printed on which were the words “Jesus Saves”. I immediately wondered why they felt the need for this. Maybe they were trying to kick-start a profitable fashion trend…or they didn’t feel their actions were enough to spread the joy of the Holy Spirit.
Words are useful at times, but actions are the only real proof that will convince others of God’s existence. “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three: but the greatest of these is charity.” – 1 Corinthians 13: 13, with this being echoed in Colossians 3: 12 – “And above all these things put on charity“. There are more but those two verses are what I’ve got right now.
You see, not everyone is the passive consumer who casually accepts Jesus into their hearts because your t-shirt tells them to. Seeing something printed on your shirt or tattoed on your body isn’t going to convince them any more than a Transformers poster with 10 / 10 printed all over it is going to convince me that the relevant movie franchise is worth watching. They need to see for themselves what Jesus was about; they need to see you following in his footsteps, not advertising him as part of a door-to-door sales pitch, because he’s not some product in a shop window. He’s for free, and the only thing that window does is create a separation preventing others from coming to him.
Yes, the dancing and singing was good to see, but that was partially what worried me. It was a show. They were unapproachable. Their shirts told you that this is what awaits in God’s kingdom and if you felt apprehensive then it wasn’t for you (and this is Britain. Of course there’s going to be natural apprehension).
I’m not judging. I’m not criticising people, but rather the way they’re percieved by society. Sometimes, though, those trying to ‘preach’ God’s word really don’t do themselves any favours either.
A couple of streets away, you’re likely to run into a street preacher, wearing a suit and telling everyone their children are going to hell. Whether that’s true or not isn’t the point. The point is that it doesn’t have to be true, not if they had their priorities right and concentrated on saving those same souls they’re condemning. You can’t frighten people into believing in something they don’t think exists. I mean, if you could do that, then everyone would be scared of going to bed every night for fear of being abducted by aliens. All your words are going to do in this case is either turn people away completely or provoke them into anger towards you and what they percieve to be ‘your’ God rather than theirs. Take Proverbs 15: 1 – “A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger” – rather than my word for it.
Yes, the Bible does teach us to “…fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10: 28), but here’s the thing: non-Christians don’t believe in Him the same way you do. And that’s no reason not to love them. Do Christians enter church every week trembling for all the sins they’ve committed? No (or at least; they shouldn’t). “For God hath not given us a spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” – II Timothy 1: 7
Anyway, I guess what I’m trying to say with my first point is that there is no one size fits all (we’re refering to personalities in this context; not God, or the Bible. See previous post). God is for everyone. You’ll get the joyful and the fearful. Then you’ll have yourself. God didn’t necessarily make you to fit perfectly into one of those categories. Ideally you’ll gain attributes of both.
“Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few.” – Ecclesiastes 5: 2
P.S. Remember when I just used to review films?
“Fear not; for thou shalt not be ashamed: neither be thou confounded: for thou shalt not be put to shame: for thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth, and shalt not remember the approach of thy widowhood any more.” – Isaiah 54: 4
P.P.S. Yeah, me neither.