You cannot hate someone into church

But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.  And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Gal. 5:22-24).  An individual who is committed to Christianity will live a life that glorifies the Father.  They will exemplify the characteristics that set them apart from the world.  Their behavior will be consistent with the desires of God, and it will act as a magnet to the seeking soul.  People they come into contact with will be intrigued, and some will want to know why they are so composed all the time, why they are so loving and kind, and why they are so forgiving, even in the face of persecution.

It is then that the question, “How are you able to act so lovingly all the time,” or “I wish I had your patience” can be answered with an invitation.  Not only does the opportunity exist to invite them, but it also opens the door to a conversation about Jesus.  Conversely, acting like the world with its desire to please the self and trample on competition not only endangers the Christian’s salvation, but it shuts the door to any evangelistic opportunities with that person.   Too often, people put Christ on in baptism but then live like the world.  They are “good” Christians on Sundays but act like they are not for the rest of the week.  That kind of behavior weakens the opportunity to evangelize because it destroys the allure of Christianity.

Those who are seeking a better way will not be attracted to people who claim to be better and yet act the same as the world.  Not only does that make them liars, but it actually makes them worse than the world because they are being deceptive.  But worse than that, if you can imagine something worse, is the “Christian” who attacks those who are seeking for their behavior or attitude.  They act as if the Church of Christ is a fraternity of the perfect and do not tolerate any weakness or imperfection, even while claiming church is for anyone.  Whoa to anyone who dares to dress “immodestly” or lives “sinful” lives.  This “president,” this “immaculate example,” this, dare I say, “Karen of Christianity” will absolutely not tolerate such insidious behavior.

When their poor, unfortunate victim is shown that the boundaries of Christianity are so narrow, the “club” so exclusive, and the members so perfect, there will be no desire to “join.”  Living a life of obedience to the Scripture and following the command of Matt. 28:18-20 and Mark 16:15 dictate that we have an attitude of acceptance, patience, empathy, and, above all, love.  We will never hate anyone into church.  Why would anyone desire to come to a place where love appears absent and where they are seen as pathetic, inferior souls who can only be saved when they reach a standard that no one could possibly reach.  Take them where they are, accept them, love them, and teach them a better way with kindness and gentle words.  Make the church a place of God in Christ and not of hate and condemnation.

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