Guest Writer: Erin Patrick
I’m sure that you have heard the phrase “Always preach the Gospel. If necessary, use words” by St. Francis of Assisi. While the Scriptures admonish us to speak God’s word, I tend to agree that this quote has very real merit in encouraging us to act out the Gospel. The first impression that others have of us is usually not based on the words that we speak, but on the actions they observe.
Too often, I find well meaning Christians taking upon themselves the position of judge and jury instead of humble servant. How many times have you observed someone who looks, acts or talks a little differently from “The Church” being ignored or shunned by believers who don’t want to get involved with the messiness of their life? Sometimes people are involved in things that we don’t agree with or believe in or understand. Does that make them any less precious to God than we are?
We come across and bump into people all day long who don’t know the love of Christ; people who haven’t experienced His mercy and grace. It’s much easier to not make eye contact or ask them their story. But what if we purposed in our hearts to place value and preciousness on everyone whose path we crossed? What if the next time, someone who looks different from us comes to church, we give them a warm smile and ask them, “What has God been up to in your life?”
If we could only see people through God’s eyes, they might feel that we have something they want to hear more about. We could love people to Jesus. We could be a people who influence others for Christ by getting to know them. God wants us to be touched by the “yuck” in people’s lives. He wants us to show them they impact us; that whatever they have going on in their lives touches us and moves us.
What a powerful statement that would be coming from the body of Christ. “We see you, we know you, and we love you.” Isn’t that what Jesus would say if He physically walked here among us? He would meet us where we are and overwhelm us with such love (not judgment) that we would have no choice but to turn from our ways and look to Him. We cannot be sure of the heartbreak and the hurt people are suffering if we don’t take the time to walk with them and talk with them and show them the compassion and mercy of our Lord.
So yes, dear hearts, preach the Gospel with words when you can, but I challenge you to bless and influence others for the Kingdom of God with your actions. The next time you rub shoulders with someone that makes you feel a little uncomfortable, listen to them, take interest in their life and show them who Christ is. After all, we are the body of Christ here on this earth. We need to act like it! If we don’t, who will?
From His Lap,
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