On Faith and Friendship

This year, I sent out my very first email Christmas card (see most recent blog post to read actual card).  I spent time praying about what I should write in it.  I knew that I would write “Merry Christmas” because Christmas is such a momentous occasion for those of us of the Christian faith.  We may not know for certain that the event happened on December 25th, but we do know that it happened.  God sent His son as a baby into this world to save us from our sinful destruction.  Gloria in excelsis Deo! (translation: Glory to God in the highest!).  This is a holy and amazing event to celebrate!

However, I also knew that there would be some who would receive this Christmas card that do not believe as I do – either they believe differently about God or perhaps not at all.  There are some that celebrate different holidays during the month of December.  Did I want to alienate them by sending my Christmas card?  Absolutely not!  These are my friends – people who read my newsletters and communicate with me through email and over the phone.   I value them in my life, whether we have the same religious beliefs or not.  And I do not want to lose any friendships that I have gained over the years in the event that I might be used of God in some way in their lives down the road into the future.

And so, I took the Paul approach – speaking the truth while acknowledging other belief systems.  Paul had an amazing way of connecting with people by talking with them from a place of common ground.  He wrote to the Athenians, “I see that you are a very religious people with temples to many gods…” (paraphrase)  Did he put them down or shame them for this belief?  Did he alienate them?  No, he did not.  He acknowledged their religious belief system and then built upon it.  This was my goal – to acknowledge that we might currently believe differently and yet to proclaim the good news clearly – God sent His son to save us all!

After my card went out, I was criticized by people whom I thought would understand me best – my fellow Christians.  I was judged for coming across as politically correct or not strong enough in my core beliefs.  Those that know me well know that this is not true.  I believe in friendship evangelism.  Preachiness almost always drives away friends.  Then what have we gained for eternity?  Understanding and honesty will often soften the hardest of hearts.

I prayed over sending my card, just as I have prayed over writing this response.  Judge me if you will.  I have learned over the years that there will always be those that will judge you – it is a part of life on this planet.  But I will continue on the path that the Lord has laid out for me – to share His love with those that do not know it through compassion and understanding and truthful words.  Come what may…

I hope that you had a very Merry Christmas and experience God’s full blessings during 2010!

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This entry was posted on Monday, December 28th, 2009 at 4:59 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

One Response to “On Faith and Friendship”

Jodi G December 28th, 2009 at 6:50 pm

I’m sorry you had to experience this. I guess some of us have not learned that it isn’t our place to judge. (Am I being judgemental by stating that fact?) :)

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