I have been asked to tell you what Christians believe, and I am going to begin by telling you one thing that Christians do not need to believe. If you are a Christian you do not have to believe that all the other religions are simply wrong all through. If you are an atheist you do have to believe that the main point in all the religions of the whole world is simply one huge mistake. If you are a Christian, you are free to think that all these religions, even the queerest ones, contain at least some hint of the truth.
—- C. S.Lewis
In the past few years I have become a great fan of British television and movies. In doing so, I have become aware of the different expressions that are used in the UK in the same manner that people from the UK become aware of American expressions when they view American television and movies. An expression I hear quite often is, “Let’s sort it out.” The expression clearly means that the truth is somewhere in the situation. The job of the detective or the teacher is to find it.
Our very diverse society offers many concepts of religion, God and truth. Lewis urges us not to curtly dismiss the ones who are not of our stripe but rather to engage them and even learn from them. Simply put, to sort them out. Unfortunately, we have a tendency to attempt to destroy those ideas that conflict with our own. Christians do not have to live and believe in a protective bubble. Such an attitude makes us an isolated and judgmental group that spends its time fighting anyone who sees things differently. As Christians we are called to witness our faith, but that witness imperative requires that we do sort out some things.
We must sort out truth from prejudice.
Many of us have grown up in traditions that demand certainty of belief. Certainty does give us a level of comfort which we all desire. Comfort, certainty, in and of themselves, are good. However, when our certainty makes it necessary to condemn others we begin to walk on shaky ground. God never wanted us to go around judging the world and deciding who is worthy and unworthy. When we become judges we invariably have a set of prejudged standards that we impose on everyone. If we don’t watch ourselves we will begin to assess worthiness on sight based on some predetermined set of rules. There is never any search for real truth. Our only interest is if the person looks or sounds “right.” The search of the Christian is for truth.
We must sort out evangelism from crusade.
Evangelism is the sharing of the good news of the path to God. A crusade is organized campaign concerning a social, political, or religious issue. Your relationship to God is a gift, not an issue. As Christians we share the good news as just that – GOOD NEWS! God’s message of peace and harmony is shared with love and kindness. The message is never to be shared in a semi military fashion. We share as we go. Sharing is done by multiple small acts of kindness. Evangelism is the giving of one’s self to the service of others. We are not on a crusade but a journey with the message of Christ. Make your journey count.
We must sort out our irreducible minimums.
I would be remiss if I did not point out some “I believe” statements.
- I believe that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world.
- I believe that all salvation is through Him.
- I believe that He is the son of God.
- I believe that He had a special birth.
- I believe that there is an afterlife.
- I believe God’s kingdom will come on earth as it is in heaven.
- I believe that God is still active in this world.
Those are the “irreducible minimums “ that guide my life. Far be it from me to force others to agree with me, but these are the basis of how I determine my walk with God. Once our minimums are thought out and established we are ready to share with others. We can be faith sharing Christians without being grand inquisitors of the world. Know what you think and be open to listen and share.
Lord, help me to see the value in people who disagree with me about you. Let me see the light that you have given them. Teach me to go forward and make a difference with all people not just those who agree with me. Allow me to see your light in all that I encounter.