Wednesday, July 25, 2007

How much do I have to change before you'll like me?

Interesting indeed how often those of us who call ourselves Christians demand a change in others before we'll let our guard down and accept people just the way they are. As I read through the Gospels, I don't recall Jesus saying to the twelve he chose; to change and then come follow him. He simply invited them to "follow him". I love the way Rob Bell put it in his book titled, "Velvet Elvis". He likens the Christian journey to that of jumping on a trampoline. "We jump and simply invite people to jump with us, to live the way of Jesus and see what happens".

The radical hope of the gospel is that if we follow Jesus, change will then happen.

Perhaps if we were more "tolerant" of others as they are, they would be more tolerant in listening to our gospel and thereby be more inclined to accept an invitation to jump with us.

What are your thoughts?

1. How are you in this area? Do you typically want to see change before you accept people or are you willing to let them be themselves and allow God to effectuate change?

15 comments:

Morehart said...

Being a Christian is such a broad statement I am finding out. It could mean anything from, "Yeah I'm a Christian." To get the person that stops you at the mall to talk to you about your salvation. Or it could mean that you are a Christ follower and totally in love with your Savior.

I think a lot of it is revealed in your personality. But also at the same time the most cynical of Christians are other Christians. "I cannot believe I saw Sally in Church Sunday, she cheated on her husband!"

When did we change? Did Christ ever turn a sinner away? No he spent time with them...He loved them.

I think to many Christians in todays world are worrying more about their religion than following Christ....Let that sink it.

Shannon said...

Morehart,

Your last statement really resonates with me..."I think to many Christians in todays world are worrying more about their religion than following Christ".

How we change this around is the question, I guess. :/

~Cindy~ said...

wowsers this is a good one PS (short for Pastor Shannon)I think that this is harder for those of us brought up in the church and even harder for those brought up really strict...an observation that my dh and I have made it, this generation is so hard to reach because they are not convinced they are sinners, they are not convinced they need what they see most Christians have :o (I have to agree for the most part with them) IT is hard to convince people they need Jesus, when they have never seen him fairly represented...and lets face it for the most part the church is notfairly representing Christ...:(
~C~

Shannon said...

Cindy,

Excellent thoughts. :)

Shannon said...

btw, who is "dh"?

Rodney Olsen said...

The older I get the more I see how far short I fall in so many areas and the more compassion and forgiveness I feel for those outside Christ.

PS: As for your question to Cindy, I think you'll find that dh is short hand for 'dear heart' or most commonly 'dear husband'.

Shannon said...

Rodney,

Good to hear from you. :) I need to get by your blog much more often.

dear heart or dear husband sounds close enough for me. :)

~Cindy~ said...

yeah it is my dear husband...

Morehart said...

I feel with most "Non-Christians" they aren't convinced they are sinners, b/c they don't know they are sinners. Some are so far away from the realm of God that they don't that they are sinning.

In all reality the difference between me and a "Non-Christian" sinner is the fact that I know that I am forgiven of my sins, they just haven't figured it out yet.

Shannon said...

Morehart,

How does one come to know they are indeed a sinner? I think it begins when we catch a glimpse of him who knew no sin and then suddenly our own sin becomes more illuminated.

So I suppose the question goes back to, "Are we accurately portraying Christ to others"?

Colin A. Lamm said...

I read so much conversation about Rob Bell saying this and that. "Velvet Elvis" also seems to have become a standardized text with a lot of bloggerdom -- I guess maybe I should pick it up and give it a whirl.

Personally I have always struggled with this whole issue. Depending upon how we look at the meaning of the statement "letting people be themselves" we could end up in a wide variety of places. I do think that I (we) need to be more accepting of others. Ideally I see and desire the need. But practically, I let some people rub me the wrong way and I become less than accepting.

Shannon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shannon said...

Colin,

For me, Rob Bell has put many things on the table that are worth discussing. However, there are some things that he brings that I don't buy into. Velvet Elvis proved to be a great read for me. :)

paul said...

I wonder if we don't tell more of our stories of struggle and change first and/or listen to the the stories of others...

then again whilst i am good at talking about me and my flaws i am not very good at listening to people talking about me and my flaws or hearing about others stuggles without interupting with a solution...

maybe i just need a trampoline?? ;)

Shannon said...

lol Paul, yes you just need a trampoline! :) Thanks for stopping by.