If you believe in the bible, you believe that we are all sinners. There is a difference between the saved and unsaved, but it has nothing to do with our actions. It is by grace alone. It’s just as available to the straight and narrow Christian as it is to your favorite celebrity Satan worshiper. It could be theirs tomorrow. None of us are better than anyone else in the eyes of god. Isn’t that how it goes?
Christians feel they should never be ashamed of their faith. No hiding your light from the world, right? But there is a distinct difference between honoring your god and honoring yourself for having morals above those around you. I believe the bible describes such a thing as pride. It often gets confused with “standing up for what I believe in.”
Pride in god and pride in one’s own self can be surprisingly easy to mix up. It is the difference between existing in a place of humility and placing yourself on a pedestal ever so slightly above the sinners around you. Is it possible to point out the sins of others without coming across as condescending? Yes; if you are leading a group of like-minded worshipers. But the moment you announce that someone outside that circle isn’t living up to a standard you are living up to, you are now up on that pedestal again.
Come on down from there and let’s talk about this.
Christians. Let’s pretend for a moment that I am still in that circle with you for this next part. You have the opportunity every day to show your faith through your actions. The decisions you make, the way you present yourself, and the kindness you show others. Carry yourself in a way that demonstrates the humility of a sinner saved by grace. In this way you will be a light to others in the darkness. Do not let pride influence you to draw attention to your own goodness or better understanding. The moment you put yourself on a pedestal above others, or forget that this sinful world is made up of individual sinners just like you- that is the moment your light goes out, and those in the darkness will no longer be able to find their way through you.
This is also good advice for living in a world with others who will never share your faith.
I know how real god is for you. He was real for me, too. And in a world where god is real, you are absolutely right about so many things. In that world people need to find him and be saved. You are surrounded by unbelievers who are either lost or misguided in their spirituality. You see Satan infiltrating the world around you. You long to persevere for god, and that is the only purpose for living. You cannot compromise for those who do not stand with god.
But let’s face it. You and I both know that you always crave more faith. You pray for it daily. You believe with all your heart and it still isn’t enough, because you don’t have the courage to shed your worldly desires and possessions and give all you have for Christ. Why? You know this world is nothing compared to eternity. You know the reward in heaven for those who could have such faith would be worth it- but you never do as much as you could for god. Thankfully, you will just barely pass because of grace.
I want you to start from this place when you think about me and others who find no evidence of god.
In a world where god is not real, nothing you say about god matters. Here, no one is doomed for eternity. You are not required to discover the one true path. In this world people look out for one another and make connections with each other. You are surrounded by people, good and bad, and for a million different reasons. Humanity perseveres for its own sake, and we each find our own purpose for living. We make compromises every day in an effort to evolve.
Now what will you do about me? Whether we like it or not, we exist side by side in a world under two realities. Pretending that isn’t true is meaningless. Using our individual realities as a case against the other one’s reality is meaningless. So slow down, friend. Stop talking for a moment and think about that. We aren’t living on two separate planets, setting up armies in preparation for battle. We aren’t good and evil. At least, over here we’re not. We are just two people sharing space from different perspectives. So if you want to talk in my world, you might as well leave that bible at home.
Maybe you can think of me as a sinner, the same as you. I simply haven’t accepted grace. I understand. But don’t tell me I must follow rules that don’t exist for me. Don’t tell me you are a better person for reasons that don’t exist for me. And when you speak to me as if I represent the “Lord of All That Is Horrible” sent to strip you of your precious immortality? It isn’t cool. In return, I may think of you as someone who simply bought into the same stories I once did. That’s easy enough. And I will do my best to speak to you as if that does not mean you have been deceived by humans, either. Given the circumstances we are bound to slip up once in a while. Fortunately, forgiveness exists in both our worlds.