That last book I read, “When We Were On Fire” about a girl’s journey with cynicism in the church, has me looking at Christians a little differently. I’ve been examining them to see how annoying they might be perceived to non-Christians, sort of looking differently to see how evangelization might be more effective. We’ve been watching “Survivor” lately, and there are a surprising amount of outspoken Christians on the show. They’ll pray publicly, in one show the whole team would gather together and pray, it’s obvious how their faith influences their decisions.
So one guy was praying and I thought “how annoying” (for practice ). I was surprised how easy it was to fall into an attitude that Christians were annoying and uppity. Everything he did created distance between him and me, he seemed both arrogant and weak. It became easy to hate him and the more he shared his faith, the easier it was to condemn him. There was a humility missing, that I needed in order to connect with him.
There was another guy who was a Christian, and he was a good player, got along well with others, but I didn’t find out he was a Christian till the end. His quiet faith was respect-worthy. I appreciated how he didn’t flaunt it. It made me curious.
There was a third guy who was a Christian on the show. He was young and made mistakes often and then he’d repent and ask everyone for forgiveness. It was easy to like him, you could tell he wasn’t too confident and didn’t trust himself but wanted to do right, especially by others. He even sacrificed his position in the game for another, his actions and insecurities spoke loudly.
The team praying together got ridiculed for being cult-like, especially when joined by the other team. It was weird, especially when they started hating on others for not doing enough work.
I also saw some of the great dangers in saying, “God told me to….” or “it is God’s will to…” It seems very manipulative and arrogant to use God’s name to get someone to feel or do something. It doesn’t even matter what you say after those words, simply by using them, it sets a wall up and discredits whatever you say. It’s especially awful to say “It is God’s will” after something unfortunate happens to make them feel better. We need to be careful with those words, perhaps only saying them after scriptures and not human events.
I don’t like analyzing Christians like this, I was shocked how easy it was to fall into a contemptuous attitude. But it makes me want to be quieter with my faith and relate to people where they are instead of where I’m at. Let them know they are loved before I hit them with “annoying Christian phrases”. Try to live a respect-worthy life, instead of talking all the time and not doing. When it comes to sharing faith, trust and humility are so important. Putting others before you and sacrificing your wants is an excellent way of developing trust.
On an opposite note, it is a beautiful thing when Christians gather and encourage each other with words. But on a television show, or in the presence of unbelievers caution/love is necessary.
Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. 1 John 3:18
Dear brothers and sisters, when I first came to you I didn’t use lofty words and brilliant ideas to tell you God’s message. For I decided to concentrate only on Jesus Christ and his death on the cross. I came to you in weakness, timid and trembling. And my message and my preaching were very plain. I did not use wise and persuasive speeches, but the Holy Spirit was powerful among you. I did this so that you might trust the power of God rather than human wisdom. 1 Corinthians 2:1-5