I don't know when this competitive urge for Christians to get the win started, but it's made an awful mess of things. It may have been when we stopped pursuing Jesus and instead began picking sides. We choose a political team, we select a denominational preference, we embrace a branch of philosophy and anyone that disagrees is quickly judged and simultaneously disregarded as worthless. There's a BIG problem with that approach. We are supposed to be loving those who don't agree with us to Jesus--and you can't love those whom you deem worthless.
Where is the balance between standing for Truth and not pushing people away?
There is a fine balance. God does want us to stand for absolute Truth and for integrity and character and to stand up for what we know is right and against what we know is wrong. But he did not call us to hate people. And the trickiest part of our faith is this: The Word of God makes it clear that it is God’s job and role to convict people into life change. Nowhere in Scripture does it make that the human being’s role. It is a human being’s role to love a person to Jesus.
Now, the problem here is you have a lot of people who misinterpret the scripture and what we do to try and love people to Jesus is okay the sin issues, and water down the faith and that’s not acceptable either. We’ve got to find a new language that communicates, “You know what? I do disagree with your belief system. I do disagree with your way of life, but I still love you as a person." And their response is always, “But you think I should change?” To which we should answer: “It doesn’t matter what I think. It matters if you’re willing to accept the love of Christ. Once you accept the love of Christ, He will transform your heart."
People who kill in the name of religion or hate the person and not the sin need to go back and read their Bible and this time don't take it out of context or give it your own personal interpretation to suit your own needs. Example: people who bomb buildings in the name or religion or yell "murderer" to young women going inside clinics or who hate homosexuals...do you think that is how GOD would act? Absolutely not! He says "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." Proverbs 15:1 In other words, we are to stand up for what is good and what is right but we are to do so in love, not anger.
All I’m saying is “lead with love.” I think you can certainly agree that we’ve led with animosity. We’ve lead with “you’re wrong.” And yes, they very well may be wrong. But instead of saying "you're wrong" point them to the source of Truth. Show them what God has to say by referring them to the Scripture. After all, we shouldn't rely on each other for all the answers because none of us have all the answers. GOD has all the answers!
Our words and our actions can be a blessing or a curse.
We act like our actions and our words can be easily retracted. But they can’t. Our words and actions can do a lot of good and they can also do a lot of damage. And it’s not just an issue of intentions. I’m no theologian. All I know is that I’ve messed up A LOT, and if I’m honest with myself I see how I've been more "Christian-ish" than Christian.
If we have ever proclaimed to be living for Christ, if we have ever gone to church or been involved in a Christian organization or spoken out about Christ, whether we want to be one or not, we are now ministers because our lives are now observed. They’re observed not just in the context of who are we, but they’re now observed in the context of who is Christ and who is He in our lives. We are held to a higher standard because of the God we choose to follow. There are many who are just waiting for us to screw up so that they can point the finger and dismiss us...and we will inevitably screw up...because we are imperfect.
But don't be afraid to stand out and to let others know you are a believer. I think some of us are afraid to share our faith for fear we will say or do the wrong thing, but we may be the only glimpse of Christ that they will ever see in their life. Understand that we WILL make mistakes and when we do, others will be watching...so what will we do to set things right when we do wrong? That is what ultimately brings us closer to God. Our humility to admit when we are wrong and to understand that...
The way is not church. The way is not ideology. The way is not Christian. The way is Jesus.