Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Zeal vs. Love

As some of you know, I read online articles a lot. Some are sports related, but since football season has ended my sports reading tends to go down a bit. A lot of the articles I read are related to Christianity. I feel it is important to keep myself up to date on what people are saying and discussing on this matter. I don't know why, but part of my character seems to be apologetic by nature. I readily jump to the defense of my Savior and His holy Word when its authority is challenged. I don't say this to my credit. I believe it is something that God is working in me. But sometimes I allow my zeal for truth to overshadow my compassion for the lost.

I recently read and article about a Unitarian minster named Marilyn Sewell who interviewed an avowed atheist, Christopher Hitchens, about his new book. Most of the things about the article didn't shock me. She was liberal in every sense of the word, and he adamantly apposed any type of religion. One thing catch me off guard though. She asked a question, and his response showed me that he, an atheist, knew more of Christianity than she did, and she was the one claiming to be a Christian. The transcript goes as follows:

"The religion you cite in your book is generally the fundamentalist faith of various kinds. I’m a liberal Christian, and I don’t take the stories from the scripture literally. I don’t believe in the doctrine of atonement (that Jesus died for our sins, for example). Do you make and distinction between fundamentalist faith and liberal religion?

I would say that if you don’t believe that Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ and Messiah, and that he rose again from the dead and by his sacrifice our sins are forgiven, you’re really not in any meaningful sense a Christian."

He at least understands what he is rejecting. But she on the other hand does not seem to grasp the basic foundations of the religion she claims to follow. It is stuff like this that brings out the apologist in me. I rise up in my zeal for the truth (which I should). I get angry that someone who claims to follow Christ rejects one of Christianity's basic principals in front of an atheist that they should be sharing the gospel with. All of this is a legitimate response except that I neglect to see them as God does. They are as I was: lost in sin with no hope. I fail to have compassion and see them as someone whom Christ died for.

See, between zeal and compassion there is a fine line. I am to adamantly defend God's truth, but I am to also recognize that even I would not know God's truth if He had not, in His great compassion for me, revealed it to me. We Christians need to never forget that we would be backward in our thinking too if God had not intervened. Lost people act lost because they are lost. They do not know Christ like we do therefore they cannot see things the way we do. In compassion for them, we should live as Christ would have us to in front of them. And maybe through this we may see them come to know him, so they too can experience His redemption as they are drawn to Him.

1 comment:

  1. Such a good lesson, bro. I'm in the same boat and have been learning that lately.