Tag Archives: Christian testimony

How Do You Live for Christ in a World that Reviles his Name?

Contemporary US culture expresses disdain for Christ, for Christians and for Christianity in very un-subtle ways

Being a Christian in the contemporary culture of the US can be a lonely experience. If you happen to be a high-profile person, it can be particularly difficult. If you happen to express a view of cultural attitudes and behaviors that is rooted in your faith, you can be vilified and virtually skinned alive. If you happen to make a mistake of any kind in this setting, you will become the byword for the reason the culture must root out every evidence of Christianity. Jesus warned before he died that the world would hate his followers, because the world already hated him. In the US, this hatred takes a variety of forms:

Commercial boycotts

Facebook and Twitter insults

Billboards

Interviews by news anchors

Dramatic scripts on television

Movie scripts

Books

Uncivil blogs and comment threads

Lawsuits

It takes strong character and perseverance to stand up to cultural and political pressure.

Not everyone can survive the pressure to renounce Christianity. Some grow stronger under pressure and some do not. Some fall away. Nobody knows at this moment where Anne Rice really stands with regard to her faith, because she has been both in and out of the faith. There is terrible pressure on anyone who takes faith in Christ seriously. It comes from all sides, because there are people on all sides who want to see Christianity removed from the culture. They are temporarily focused on locking Christianity up inside buildings designated for worship, but if they ever succeed in that objective, or if they ever conclude that it will not work, they will simply declare that religion is an antiquated idea unworthy of the current evolutionary level of human beings. Actually, secularists have been saying this for a hundred years, so even that pressure is already in place.

 The same faith practices that sustained Christians in the beginning sustain Christians today: prayers and Scriptures

The truth is that Christians have been under pressure to disappear since the resurrection of Christ. The disciples hid in locked rooms from the time of the crucifixion until Pentecost. Christ appeared in person to them until the ascension, but after that, they had to rely on the nourishment that has sustained Christians from that time until this: prayer and Scripture. The practice of prayer and the practice of studying Scripture became central to the faith during the days in which they all waited for the Holy Spirit. They did not know exactly what they were waiting for, but they turned naturally to the habits that Christ had modeled for three years. They prayed. They read Scripture. They must surely have enjoyed the fellowship of remembering Christ together around the table as he had asked them to do during his final meal with them.

The practice of daily prayer and Bible study builds a strong relationship with Christ

After Pentecost the practices continued. In the writings of Paul and the other apostles, Christians were regularly guided to develop strong practices of prayer and Scripture study for guidance. These practices flourished in a culture as least as cynical about the claims of Christianity as that of twenty-first century USA. These practices flourished in a culture where someone could be executed for unwillingness to worship the emperor, forget being fined for unwillingness to fund abortion under cover of health insurance. Over the past two thousand years, Christians have learned a great deal about prayer and Bible study, and most importantly, they have learned that these habits are essential to sustain faith when it is under fire, as it is today. What have they learned?

Both prayer and Bible study are two-way communications

Most people agree that in prayer the believer is engaged in conversation. It is not just a petition process. There is a lot of back and forth in prayer. It is tempting to think that Bible study, the study of Holy Scripture, goes only one way, but that would be wrong. Because the Holy Spirit lives within the believer and is God’s gift to be our teacher, there is ongoing communication during Bible study as well. A Christian may puzzle over the meaning or the lesson of Scripture, but he is not simply exercising his mental powers; prayerful study begins a conversation with the Holy Spirit that goes both ways. Eventually, truth becomes clear. Prayer and Bible study are the communication of a relationship with Christ that permeates everything in the life of a Christian.

These disciplines help you to see the challenges clearly

Among the values of prayer and Bible study is the development of discernment. Such a skill is essential to live in a culture that thrives on cloaking risky concepts in semantic slipcovers. During the early days of cultural advocacy for abortion on demand, the word abortion was prominent in the discussion. Soon, advocates recognized that almost everyone equated abortion with death. Those who worked tirelessly to make the concept acceptable re-packaged their arguments to support “a woman’s right to choose.” They argued that an unwanted embryo was an invader who infringed on a woman’s freedom, and she, therefore, had a right to reject it, or any bundle of cells that developed after that stage. Now that “a woman’s right to choose,” has lost traction due to the implied selfishness of the choice, the new language is simply “women’s health.” An abortion is simply the logical medical procedure to assure that a woman’s health is not compromised by an unplanned pregnancy. Pregnancy has fallen from a beautiful gift of life to the same category as exposure to the flu: it is a condition to be alleviated for the benefit of a woman’s health. Prayer and Bible study nourish the gift of discernment to carve through convoluted rhetoric to allow discussions to focus on the real subject.

Prayer and Bible study help people to understand truth, real truth. Truth should, of course, be an absolute value, but nothing is absolute in contemporary ethics. Everything is relative, discoverable, malleable according to circumstances. Nothing is absolutely true. It is only true if it is true for you.

These disciplines build faith and trust which provide confidence to reject fear

Nothing is quite as frightening as facing a choice about which you feel ambivalent. Maybe this is the right way, but on the other hand, maybe something else is better. That is the way people talk themselves into believing lies. If someone begins to doubt the truth, then a lie does not actually look like a lie. The practices of prayer and Bible study clarify the truth. Christ is Truth, and as a Christian grows in relationship with Christ, the strength and depth of that relationship, just like a marriage relationship, make it easier to face threats to the relationship without fear. Over time, losing the relationship becomes more frightening than any other possible outcome. It will be impossible to adulterate the relationship with equivocal logic or half-truths, because a believer who has come to know the depths of the love of Christ will not exchange that relationship for anything else. Like the Muslim background believer who endured beatings and imprisonment for Christ, any believer can say, “Before I had Christ, I had no peace. Now that I have Christ, I always have peace,” even in the midst of torture and abuse.

One reward of a strong relationship with Christ is greater ability to trust him even when he does not rescue the believer from pain

One popular attempt to diminish Christian claims of persecution is to parse the definition of persecution in an attempt to defuse the complaints. Needless to say, wherever there is a law about persecution, the legal standard will be unique to that place.. The standard for claiming persecution is quite high, and that is fine for legal purposes. However, the biblical standard is different. Just as the relationship between Christ and a believer defies legal definition, so does the biblical use of the term persecution. Biblically speaking, when Satan acts through anyone to attempt to thwart the Kingdom of God, it is persecution. Satan has one goal: to defeat God and take over his place in the universe. Biblically speaking, every act that contributes to Satan’s campaign becomes persecution of those who serve Christ.

It does not really matter whether a Christian is persecuted, restricted, or simply insulted personally. In every case where Satan acts to turn people away from Christ, it is persecution. A person who has a strong relationship with Christ nurtured by prayer and Bible study will get through such experiences, because that person knows that Christ goes with him through everything. Like the three Hebrew children before Nebuchadnezzar’s fiery furnace, believers do not care whether Christ rescues them or not. They only care to be faithful to Christ through everything. It is much easier to do if their faith is nourished regularly in prayer and Bible study.

Prayer and Bible study cannot be prevented by either cultural pressure or government edict

  • A Christian need not open a Bible to study Scripture if he has saved some in his own heart
  • A Christian need not fold hands or close eyes in order to pray
  • The indwelling Holy Spirit will lead Christians to display and use Bibles or to take an obviously prayerful posture when the need for testimony requires it
  • Christians around the world have faced pressure from family, culture and government without giving up either prayer or Bible study, because these faith practices are crucial nourishment for living testimony

The mutual encouragement of fellow believers promotes faithful practice of prayer and Bible study

In a culture of religious liberty, the very fact of liberty may lead to lax practice of faith, and regular gatherings of fellow believers help guide wavering believers to stronger self-discipline in faith practices.

In a culture of religious persecution, powerful, well-justified fear may dilute willingness to risk discovery in faith practices; regular interaction with other believers stimulates and encourages prayer and Bible study.

Worship with other believers is also itself a sustaining practice for the building up of faith, and rewards the willingness to take risks with blessing and sustaining spiritual power.

Even imprisoned Christians have found that communication and group worship nourish them through extreme suffering. Historically it is common for imprisoned believers to find ways to communicate and worship together, even to the point of observing the Lord’s Supper in amazingly beautiful ways.

An attitude of praise and thanksgiving to the Lord at all times and in all places promotes greater cultural acceptance

Nothing defeats Satan’s power more thoroughly than prayers of praise and thanksgiving to God. In the USA Christians can still pray, sing and worship in public. They can expect some problems from a variety of sources, but believers are most often successful in defending their right to exercise their faith in public when they stand firm on the First Amendment. While that state of affairs prevails, Christians are well advised to exercise their freedom in public as often as possible. It muddies the waters considerably when the only Christian voices are judgmental. It is important that Christians testify with joy and thanksgiving in order that the public not see Christians as frowning, acerbic judges/

The First Amendment is strengthened in its protections for all believers when Christians live in the visible, joyful, free exercise of their religion. Just as Satanic forces are weakened by public, joyful testimony to Christ, the power of the First Amendment increases when the culture must acknowledge that Christians bless society as a whole.

Satan speaks through the culture, politicians and government, and his message is that Christians should be silent and invisible; Christ speaks through the Bible and the Holy Spirit, and his message is to tell everyone in the world what he has done. Christians who faithfully engage in Bible study and prayer grow strong in faith and joyful in their testimony. When the public sees Christ rather than fallible human beings in the public testimony of Christians, Christ loves new people into his kingdom.

 

 

 

 

Why Christian Charities Reject Atheist Participation

You may have read some recent articles and commentary about what happens when atheists attempt to volunteer for Christian charities or donate money to them. Christian charities are rejecting both the service and the money atheists are prepared to give.  Atheists find this behavior quite weird, and those who pass for journalists in contemporary culture appear to find it equally dismaying. They cannot imagine that it makes any sense to reject money from any source if the intent is to do good. They cannot imagine why an atheist who counsels a pregnant teen not to abort her baby out of respect for life isn’t doing the same thing a Christian is doing in that setting.

These same people are completely baffled when Christian photographers refuse to photograph a same-sex wedding ceremony, or when Christian innkeepers refuse to rent a room in a bed and breakfast to a same-sex couple. 

They are baffled, because they do not understand that for Christians, there is no such thing as some aspect of life and work that is not sacred. There is no such thing as a secular element in the life of a Christian. It is a failure to understand this truth that motivates the federal government to claim in court that when someone enters into commerce, he loses all rights to claim a conscience exemption from a law that conflicts with Christian teaching. 

Atheists who want to give money to a Christian charity almost certainly would protest if they thought their money was being used for “proselytizing.” The atheists who speak up in public all express at least mild distress at Christians who cannot keep their religion to themselves. Those who want to participate in Christian charity seem not to recognize that Christians regard every moment as a moment subject to the call of Christ to share the good news. The reason that neither the atheist nor his money is welcome to participate in what Christians regard as service to Christ is that the atheist is not serving Christ and has no good news to share.

An increasingly secular culture in the US has lured even a significant number of Christians into the belief that it doesn’t matter who hands out soup at a soup kitchen or who folds blankets at a homeless shelter. The secular culture sees serving meals and tidying space as secular endeavors. The culture asks, “Who cares?” about the credentials of service not related to “proselytizing.” The culture simultaneously scorns the very act of “proselytizing” associated with helping people in need. Secular thinking is able to classify some acts as “religious” or “spiritual” and some as “secular.” Christians cannot do that.

Christians learn from the example of Christ that life is like a seamless garment. Everything is integrated. In fact, biblical teaching says, “You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect,” (Matthew 5:48 ESV) but a deeper translation of the Greek says, “You will be integrated,” or perhaps, “You will be fulfilled.” The usual translation of the statement sounds like a command, but it might better be viewed as a goal, because the verb is in the future tense. This statement of Jesus in his paramount sermon sets a high goal for Christians – don’t even think about separating the sacred from the secular. You are sacred beings, and you cannot live schizophrenic lives with one toe in the church and one in the marketplace. Be like God – one fulfilled and perfectly integrated being.

When we understand what Christ taught, we understand why an atheist cannot do Christian service. A Christian serves soup as part of the good news that God loves the hungry person and provides for him. An atheist serves soup as a good deed that “gives back” to the culture. A Christian folds blankets at the homeless shelter as part of the good news that God loves the homeless and cares for them. An atheist folds blankets as an expression of obligation to the community in order to “give something back.” The two objectives are mutually exclusive. Furthermore, when the recipient of the charity offered by a Christian asks, “Why are you doing this?” a Christian will respond, “Because God loves you and me, and because Christ died for both of us.” An atheist might respond, “I just think everyone should give back.” That is not the good news of Christ. 

As for atheist money, the same standard applies. If an atheist gives money without strings, it might feel good to accept it and use it any way the charity wished. However, there is no guarantee that the atheist or the government or any other non-Christian source of funds will always be silent about the use of the money. The government already asserts guidelines for use of government money in faith-based operations. How can a charity that believes its reason for existence is the good news of Christ operate with integrity and abide by rules that forbid the use of the money in “proselytizing?” To non-Christians, every mention of Christ is “proselytizing” and to tell the truth, to Christians, every mention of Christ is part of telling the good news, so there is no disagreement on that point. Where atheist donors and Christians part company is at the point where atheists or government or anyone else insists that the charity separate secular services from sacred teaching. 

A Christian must be fully integrated, just as God is fully integrated. A Christian is not sometimes sacred and sometimes secular. Christian charities are meant to be full expressions of Christ’s love and grace. They are intended to tell the good news of Christ to everyone at all times. That is why atheists must be rejected whether they try to volunteer or donate money. Christian charities must reject their attempts to participate, but it is to be hoped that the charities find loving ways to share the good news with rejected volunteers and donors as well. A new Christian is as welcome in the service of Christ as one who has served for fifty years.

What is the Cure for the Evil?

When two suicide bombers struck at the Iranian embassy in Lebanon, a spokesman for Hezbollah said, “We got the message and we know who sent it and we know how to retaliate.”  This statement is a prescription for continued violence in a part of the world where the violence seems never to stop. This statement could be a quotation from any party to the ongoing conflict in the Middle East. It points up an attitude that seems to be rooted in the idea that for every violent act, there must be an equal and opposite response.

Every violent act expresses anger and pain coupled with a sense of helplessness that explodes in fiery destruction. Why is it that an equal and opposite response does not cancel out all that rage and pain?

Read the history of the Middle East, and you will quickly discern that it is not possible to quell the hunger for revenge by balancing one violent act with another. It is not possible to bring about peace by balancing political and military power so carefully that any aggression will surely be met with equivalent repellant power.

Conflicts are not resolved by assuring mutual destruction. The ultimate battle is only deferred while each party schemes to find ways to overcome the mutuality with an advantage that might be victorious for a time.

There is only one cure for the kind of fixation on vengeance for past wrongs that fuels the endless conflict in the world. That cure is Christ.

The same mindset that fuels violence in some parts of the world fuels economic repression elsewhere. People go hungry, children are not taught to read, families huddle in inadequate housing, and babies die of curable diseases, because people are sick with an illness that has only one cure. That cure is Christ.

When Christians ask what they can do about violence and hunger and disease, there is only one answer. The answer is Christ.

I see Christians trying to do all sorts of things to help people around the world. They should do all these things, but there is one thing that must fuel and envelope and sustain and shape all the things Christians do to help fix problems. That one thing is Christ.

Any atheist can hand out bread. Muslims can bandage wounds. Hindus can dig water wells. But only Christians can share Christ.

This is the one thing the world fears above all. Christ. The world at large does not want to hear this Word or see this Word. Christ heals the anger and outrage that political types want to harness and use for their own power trips. Christ pulls the teeth of the demons of revenge that fuel suicide bombings and the beheadings of enemies. Christ feeds love and personal responsibility that safely delivers newborns to parents who love and nurture them. The world doesn’t want that.

Only Christians can share Christ. When we feed people or give out medicine or help build houses for the poor, we must not ever permit the goals of those projects to zip our lips so that Christ’s name is not heard. Christ himself taught us to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves, so Christians in Saudi Arabia following Christ’s wisdom might not demonstrate in the streets of Riyadh with signs saying “Christ is the answer.” Christians in Saudi Arabia, or anywhere else, must not, however, equate doing a good deed with testifying that Christ is what the world needs.

The world does not want to hear the name of Christ. Atheists, for example, are appalled by the presence of Christians. In the US, atheists do not want the name of Christ to come up in a prayer before a public meeting. They do not want anyone to be reminded of Christ by a visible cross. They go to court to prevent children from saying Christ’s name in prayer at school.

The world does not want to hear the name of Christ, but Christ is what the world needs. Atheists often speak with scorn to Christians saying, “Well, if God is so good, then why is the world full of evil such as starvation, enslavement, and war? If God exists, why doesn’t he do something about these terrible things?” The answer is that God did do something. God sent Christ to die on the cross in order that everyone might be cleansed and forgiven of all those terrible sins. God sent Christ because of all the terrible things atheists claim to want erased in the world. People who receive Christ into their hearts are transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit, and people indwelt by the Holy Spirit work against the evil in the world around them. God did do something.

God made it easy to be part of God’s solution to the evil in the world. Receive Christ. Accept God’s forgiveness. Be filled with the Holy Spirit. Be a little Christ in a big, ugly world.

There is an answer to the evil. God provided that answer. It is easy for each person to receive that answer and become part of God’s solution that heals the world. The answer is Christ, and only Christians can share Christ, because they are the ones who have Christ in their hearts. Are you sharing what you have with people who need it? Am I?

Why Pray for the Persecuted Church?

In the US and in Western Europe, Christians are not imprisoned for attending church. They tend to feel persecuted when someone criticizes them for mentioning church in public. In many other countries, persecution has a much sharper edge.

In Laos, local government officials may evict a Christian couple from their home and send them into the forest with nothing but the clothes on their backs. The national government may revoke their citizenship, leaving them stateless.

In China, a Christian may be arrested for attending a church not registered with the national government.

In Saudi Arabia, Christian girls may be kidnapped and forcibly married to Muslim men. When families do find out where their daughters are and bring the case to court, the courts refuse to hear testimony from the girls and ultimately rule that the girls voluntarily recanted their Christian faith and married Muslim men.

In Syria, Christians are abused and even beheaded in the streets. Yet their response to persecution is so full of grace and love that everyone in that beleaguered nation knows to go to Christians for food, medicine and shelter from the ever-present danger.

What do Christians under persecution say to the rest of us? The apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians from prison, and what he wrote in 2 Corinthians 4:8-11 beautifully sums up the message of the persecuted church to the rest of the world:

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body.  NIV

Why should we pray for the persecuted church?

  • Because when we pray, we share their burden.

We are all part of the body of Christ on earth. When you mash your finger in a door, you feel the pain all over. Likewise, when the body of Christ suffers in Uzbekistan, the body in USA suffers as well.

Also, when we intercede for them in prayer, we enter into God’s ministry of blessing to them. We are part of God’s work on earth to strengthen their testimony in a dark and dangerous world.

Why should we pray for the persecuted church?

  • Because it strengthens our own testimony.

It is not possible to read of the sufferings and courage of Christians around the world and not be encouraged to be strong in our own testimony. The world is just as dark in the US, even if it is less dangerous, and we, too, are called by God to be faithful in our testimony. When we share their burden of persecution, we also share their burden for Satan’s captives who surround us. We, too, must pour out our lives in love for those whom Satan enslaves.

Why should we pray for the persecuted church?

  • Because prayer is what they ask for more than anything else.

Ministries who serve the persecuted go into dangerous settings and meet people whose lives are at risk. When the visiting ministers ask, “What can we do to help you? What do you need?” the first answer is always, “Pray that we will be strong and faithful in our testimony to Christ.” When we pray with them that they may be true to Christ, we join in their own most fervent prayers. They don’t ask for help to escape persecution; they ask for strength to go through it as Christ did. We must pray for the persecuted church if we want to give them the thing they most deeply desire.

If you have not been praying for the persecuted church, now is a good time to start. Visit I Commit to Pray and join with Christians around the world in prayer for the persecuted church.

Speak with Respect

Recently a friend asked me what to do when she felt led to share Christ with someone who does not believe. With all the current emphasis on speaking “correctly” in various settings, she was concerned that her mention of Christ’s name was disrespectful to people who do not believe. She had read Paul’s words to Timothy, a young pastor, to preach the word “in season and out of season.” In other words, preach all the time. It is fundamentally the message Christ gave to his disciples as he prepared to ascend to heaven when he said, “As you are going, make disciples.” Jesus said, and Paul reiterated, that we are to be busy sharing our faith all the time. My friend wanted to know how she could speak of her faith without upsetting people who do not believe.

The answer is that it is not possible to know whether the mention of Christ’s name will upset someone. Christians are called to love people the way Christ does, and if they love people, they will want to share Christ with people who do not know him. In the US today, a mention of Christ, even an invitation to receive Christ, is not against the law. It is free speech protected by the First Amendment, but that protection does not have any effect on the personal reaction of someone who thinks religion is a bunch of “ghost stories.”

This problem really is a problem in some countries around the world. Not too long ago, a new convert to Christianity in Morocco was arrested because he “shook the faith” of a Muslim. This new Christian is so happy in his faith that he can’t shut up about it. His Muslim neighbors complained that he was always inviting them to church and talking about Jesus. In prison he was tortured by guards and abused by fellow prisoners, but he said, “Before I became a Christian I had no peace, but now I have peace all the time.” In prison, subject to torture and beatings, he had peace. He is currently out of prison on condition of being silent about Jesus, but he is not silent, despite the risks. He reminds us all of the statement by Peter to the high priest in Jerusalem: “We must obey God rather than men.”

In Iran, a Christian and a Muslim had a quiet conversation in a park. They were in the capital city, where Evin prison holds many Christians imprisoned for being vocal about their faith. These prisoners are all convicted of being threats to national security. During the conversation, the Muslim spoke of the religious police who circulate all over the city and of the many rules and regulations that control daily life in Iran. He said, “This place feels like a prison.”  The Christian in this case had to be discrete in his response to this statement. He had friends in Evin prison who had carelessly agreed with such statements, only to discover that the statement was made as bait to entice them to criticize the government. He did not hesitate out of “respect” for the Muslim’s unbelief but rather as an act of serpentine wisdom. He truly must beware. If a Christian in Iran speaks of Christ to a Muslim, he does so knowing the risk he is taking.

In the US, Christians are not yet at risk of arrest for sharing the faith. I greet people in the name of Christ without knowing their beliefs, because I love to share Christ. Even people who look a bit puzzled and turn away do not seem to feel that this greeting is illegal speech. In the US we speak freely because free speech is protected. However, this state of affairs can change and may change. Without even repealing the First Amendment, it is possible for the Supreme Court to frame the wording of a decision about speech that categorizes faith sharing as outside the protection of the First Amendment. It is hard to imagine how that could be, but with daily assaults on the free exercise of religion, some assault on free speech about religion seems almost inevitable. Already, the word “proselytizing” has begun to surface as a scornful description of faith speech.

When Christians speak to anyone about Christ, the motivation is love. Love is both respectful and powerful. Real love is willing to do the hard thing in order to bring blessing to the loved one. There certainly are people who are adamantly and angrily opposed to the sharing of faith speech in public. They do not want to hear anything about Christ. They might be very angry if someone said, “Jesus loves you.” Christians need to be wise about when they  speak and what they say.

Fortunately, before Christ was crucified, he promised his disciples that the Holy Spirit would always be with them to guide and inspire their words. He also promised them that they would be hated and reviled, even persecuted. Christians who obey the guidance of the Holy Spirit need to speak when they receive that guidance, but when they do, they must also be ready to accept whatever response they receive. Those to whom they speak may think the Christian is kindly sharing something good, but it is possible that those people will erupt angrily, lashing out and accusing the Christians of hate speech or even unconstitutional acts.

There may be reasons to be silent on some occasions. Jesus taught that Christians are not called to barge in like roaming cattle. The guidance of the Holy Spirit is the only reliable guide for speaking or being silent. A Christian must certainly respect the human value of each person, but a Christian must expect and be willing to ask for the respect of those who do not believe. Every person is entitled to respect for being human, without regard to what he believes or does not believe. When a non-believer rails against a Christian for speaking of what he believes, the Christian has the same right as the non-believer to speak up for respect. Not aggressively demanding respect, but quietly asserting a right to be respected. A non-believer has the permission of God Almighty to refuse to believe, but the non-believer does not have God’s permission to speak abusively or to engage in outright assault. In the US, believers should be able to speak with courtesy and respect in conversation with unbelievers, but there is no guarantee that the response will always be in the same vein.

Christians must respect everyone, but they must always follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit. If a Christian speaks of God’s love to someone who reacts violently, Christians must continue to follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit in love and grace. To speak of God’s love to someone who rejects him is not a lack of respect; it is an act of profound love.

What is your experience when you speak of Christ to people who reject him?