Dark news presses in from every direction these days. Pain, brokenness, crime, evil, sin abound. Scrolling through my Facebook feed compounds the heaviness of it all. Not only do the links and statuses relay the stomach-turning events, but the comments provide a platform for anyone to weigh in.
It’s no surprise that people sometimes leave shocking, inappropriate, and over the top comments. I usually scroll right by, knowing it is simply unwise to engage. On my better days, I offer a prayer for those clearly commenting from places of pain.
However, I struggle when fellow Christians are the ones who express decidedly unchristian comments. One such comment halted me. It made me think, question myself, and assess my outlook. Posted in response to a current , particularly intense news story, a woman asserted:
AMEN, I’m so sick of the love, grace and encourage[ment] movement. YES, those things are important and central to the Gospel but what it translates to is tiptoeing around issues and affirming sin and complacency in an effort to not offend. That is wrong, that’s not winning anyone to Jesus or speaking the truth!
Evil, as was present in the story she was commenting on, is real, and evil must be confronted. But, confronting evil and living a life of love, grace, and encouragement are not mutually exclusive.
This God-sized Dreams site feels like home to me, and love, grace, and encouragement are foundational here. Perhaps that is why this comment, from someone I don’t even know, felt like a slap.
For a moment, I questioned whether I’ve just been silly and naïve to buy into some “movement” of love, grace, and encouragement. Have I missed the boat? Taken the easy way? Led others astray? Am I failing to “win people to Jesus,” as they commenter suggests?
Then I almost laughed out loud. Let’s dissect this for a second, shall we?
Love. We know that God is love. Jesus commands us to“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with soul, and with all your mind.” and “ Love your neighbor as yourself.” Real love sacrifices, in some cases in laying down your life for your friends.
Grace. Grace is what saves us. It is the help of God in our lives. It’s the courtesy we offer others and expect in return. Grace sets us free.
Encouragement. I’ve been motivated by lots of things: fear, criticism, perfectionism, guilt. Conversely, love, grace, and encouragement have motivated me. Which work better? Which “win” people to Jesus? Which are more Christ-like? It’s really a no brainer.
The phrase “winning people to Jesus” irks me too. Is it really my job to win? Or is my job to plant the seed, water the seed, and leave the growth to the Lord?(<====Click to tweet.)
I’ve tried the legalism route. I didn’t know it was a thing, but I lived it anyway. Identifying all the sin, eschewing those “bad influences”…it tore me up inside. It established few deep and lasting friendships, winning nothing for anyone.
On the other hand, the unabashed love, grace, and encouragement of other friends and dreamers watered the seeds to help me bloom—into the arms of Jesus.
So, dreamers. Encouragers…keep doing your thing. Keep speaking words of life, not lambasting people with a club of truth. (<==== Click to tweet.) You will meet resistance precisely because you are on the right track. You will be misunderstood. Your courage and vulnerability will be mistaken for weakness.
But make no mistake. You are in the ring, showing up and doing the hard work of loving others.
Just as you were commanded to do.
Just as Jesus has done for you.
Shared by: Mandy Mianecki
Photo credit: Snow0810