Good morning! Happy Friday Eve!!! Today I want to talk about what we stand for and, more to the point, what is the public perception of what you and I stand for as Christians.

Nowadays it’s pretty easy to find out what people stand against. All you have to do is jump on any social media platform and it takes no time at all before reading derogatory comments aimed at a person, group, or party with differing views from the author or this symbol 🚫 placed over top of you name it. And I am not even addressing the secular culture here as much as I am Christians online.

Whether it’s berating a government figure (guilty), picketing against a political issue, or calling out a particular sin, Christians are pretty good and making known what they stand against. Now, I am not arguing that there are things that that Christians should not tolerate but the point I would like to emphasize is that those outside the church should know more about what, and Who, we stand for vs only what we stand against.

Josh McDowell once made the statement that, “Rules without relationship lead to rebellion.” I would add that when all we present are rules without first having a relationship with people it leads to repelling them.

Years ago I arrived at church where I found a car it the front most spot by the road. Normally that would not be a problem but this car stood out because it was completely covered with bumper stickers that read things like, “All have sinned—this means you” and “Ask me why you serve hell”. I actually took a picture of it and posted it on FB noting that the owner of the vehicle did not have any affiliation with our church.

Eventually the owner of the car came out of the jail across the street where he had been leading a Bible Study. I walked out to meet him and was somewhat surprised as this older, jovial gentleman immediately started telling me that he had been spreading the love of Christ to the inmates. I thanked him for that but also shared my concern that his vehicle did not convey the love of Christ that he had spoke of. I said that I would be glad to have a longer conversation with him about it but asked that he please not park in front of our church in the future.

I didn’t make this request because I was upset with this man but rather because I cared about how people perceived our church. I believe that when we hide the love of Christ behind a wall of judgment it impairs our ability to build actual relationships with people where we can share those truths with them from a place of compassion and with the hope that only comes from knowing, believing in, and following faithfully Jesus Christ.

May we stand for Christ and clothe ourselves with him so that the world will know him, his love, and the hope of his salvation.

Romans 13:8-10 “Owe nothing to anyone—except for your obligation to love one another. If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God’s law. For the commandments say, “You must not commit adultery. You must not murder. You must not steal. You must not covet.” These—and other such commandments—are summed up in this one commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to others, so love fulfills the requirements of God’s law.” (NLT‬‬)

Colossians‬ ‭3:12-17‬ ‭“Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.”

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