Focus on Freedom

One of my favorite blogs by Jenni Catron had a great post about how Christians are becoming known for “crucifying” non-Christians for their non-Christian views. She said:

We act hurt and appalled that a non-Christian is not sharing the Gospel.

How else is a non-Christian supposed to act? In love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control? NO!


But, we are not showing them God’s love and telling them how Jesus died to save and free them from every sin and shame. Instead, we are starting groups to boycott them just to prove our points. What is our point? That we are right and they are wrong???

We are increasingly becoming known for what we stand against – not what we stand for. We hate the Da Vinci Code, Disney, Oprah, Target, Ford, AT&T, and the list just keeps going. So much energy has been spent on letting the world know we disapprove of these things – think of how much energy that could have been telling people about the beautiful love of Jesus.

I believe in standing up for the truth, but we as Christians cannot be so focused on tearing down the wicked that we forget to build up the righteous.

How can we save the world when we hate the world?


20 thoughts on “Focus on Freedom

  1. 1) Don’t get me started on boycotting, because my blood will boil and I will burst into flames.
    2) This is an awesome post. One of the most profound lessons I had a pastor teach me was to not act shocked or pissed off when somebody who isn’t a Christian doesn’t act like one. Case in point: anti-homosexual legislation.

  2. This is convicting for me, because I’m now sitting here going…OK, what am I doing to tell people about Jesus??

    Let’s find more ways…we have to find more ways!

  3. Judi, would you be prepared to listen to other ways people see the sacred, as you would have them listen to you?

    I see matters of faith as highly personal and there are so many ways to contextualize the world to the transcendent. People of varying faiths do come together in the spirit of acceptance in interfaith groups:

  4. I absolutely agree that we need to be telling more people about Jesus. But I dont agree that boycotting certain things is wrong. The world doesnt mind screaming anti God slogans and so I think that its ok that we scream back that we wont support what they are doing.

    I understand what you are saying but I think we are missing the point. Personally I think the reason that Christians encourage other christians to “boycott” is because we need to understand what these certain companies and people stand for and not let our money or our time support their agenda. We need to boycott homosexuals getting their agenda into society and pushing Godliness out. The worlds agenda is to push God out of everything. I dont watch Oprah, not because I want the world to know I dont support her, but because I dont believe in what she stands for. I dont go around telling non Christians that I dont watch Oprah, I dont expect Oprah to act a certain way because she isnt saved, Im just not going to support her.
    The problem with Christians is that we live a passive Christianity. Sin doesnt really shock us anymore. We are ok with living life and not ruffling feathers of anyone around us. We dont want hard lines to be drawn in the way that we live life and serve Jesus. We definately want the your ok, im ok mentality.
    What christians in these times are lacking is the attitude that what offends God should offend me. Homosexuality is an obmination to God, it says that in his word. So I am not going to let them push their agenda into our world. That doesnt mean I hate them, it doesnt mean that I reject them as people, but I am going to take a stand against their lifestyle.
    Jesus told us to stand for righteousness and if we dont the world will get worse and worse.
    I think our world right now is a result of Christians who have become complacent. Christians who want the world and Jesus too. We arent recognizable because we look to much like the word.
    I absolutely agree that we need to be telling more people about Jesus, but I also think that we need to stand for Righteousness. Jesus said so many times in His word that the world will hate us for standing for righteousness, for following him. They dont want our truth, they want to stay in sin and be ok with it. We are suppose to hate the world. Jesus says specifically that if you love the world you hate me, but if you hate the world you love me. That doesnt mean we hate the people, but we hate what they do.

  5. I didnt mean for my comment to be so long……….I just have one more thing to say. I read Jenni Carlton’s blog and it was really good and thought provoking. The one thing that bothers me is her only reference is a book that she read and everyone that commented on her blog referenced that same book or nothing at all.
    Im more convicted to get the Bible out and see what God has to say directly about this then I am for making sure the world see us in a good light. What does God have to say about “boycotting” ungodly people? Why does this generation of Christians quote more books than they do the Bible…….just a thought.

  6. Judi said:
    “I believe in standing up for the truth, but we as Christians cannot be so focused on tearing down the wicked that we forget to build up the righteous.”

    I think Judi’s point is not that we shouldn’t boycott evil things, but she was pointing out the fact that we as Christians are known for our hatred and boycotting of things rather than being known for our love, like Jesus was.

    It just seems like the church in general does a lot more to boycott and show “hatred” for the things of the world than we do actually reaching out to love and save the world.

    The Bible is filled with stories and teachings of redemption and love much more than condemnation and damnation. If a homosexual person reads the comments here are they going to want to turn their life around and pursue God? I’d say not. Why not show them love first. Jesus healed people with love by forgiving their sins first. How can we expect to ever save them if we treat them so badly?

    It’s as if we like our religion and churches the way they are without any weird people that don’t fit into our definition of a good Christian. It’s uncomfortable to upset the equilibrium of the pew-warming masses, but it’s necessary for transformation of the world.

    Jesus came with a transformational message that was outside the box, different from the exclusive religiosity of the day. His Gospel included everyone, gave everyone a chance to enter the Kingdom. Jesus’ message was radical, uncomfortable and upset the religious equilibrium, but look at the impact.

    “For God so LOVED the world…”

  7. We are on some touchy ground, and I think I am just going to bite my tongue on this one. I will say one thing though: Jesus’ harshest criticism was pointed toward the religious leaders of the time, not the sin that was being committed. I don’t really understand why the modern church views love and kindness as non-revolutionary.

  8. I guess I just dont see anyone tearing down the wicked and treating them badly. I see a lot of really good things going on with Christians and them reaching out to the “wicked”. Our church does a lot of good things for the needy and usaved. Boycotting Oprah isnt being mean to the world.
    Remeber Sodom and Gommorah? God distroyed that city. Jesus didnt come to undo the old testament, he came to fulfill it. You cannot have one without the other.
    Sometimes I feel like this generation and younger generation is hell bent on ripping on christians and making fun of them. They stop at nothing to point out what they think is wrong with the church. Remember, the church, no matter how unperfect it is, is still Jesus Bride and he is coming back for us.
    Jesus harshest criticisim was toward religious leaders who on the outside looked godly but on the inside were hateful and without love. Just because you stand against something doesnt mean you hate them.

  9. Oh, and I am not knocking anything that Judi said. Stuff like this challenges me to think through things. Definately makes me stop and ask myself am I more in to boycotting than loving people. I think debates like this are awesome and I dont think less of anybody whos opinion is different from mine. I just love Gods truth and so I like to debate through things to see where everyone stands and see where I can be challenged.
    Judi, I think your awesome!

  10. I totally agree, Kelli, it’s great that we can talk about this stuff openly. Everyone’s opinion is valid and needs to be heard.

    There is a little break down in the debate, Judi is talking about where our focus should be and you are talking about the action as a whole. I don’t think Judi or the original writers were saying its wrong to stand against things you think are evil, it’s just that our focus should be on the action of love. It’s kind of like that old saying “The best defense is a good offense”.

    I find your view on the Old Testament (Sodom and Gomorrah) interesting. The reconciliation of God’s character in the OT vs. God’s character in the NT is one of my biggest roadblocks. So do you think that God could still do something like Sodom and Gomorrah? Which was in essence genocide. Same with the flood, or the majority of the Old Testament.

    In my opinion, the Old Testament is the way it is because it was preparing the way for Jesus. After Jesus came to complete the law, God’s character was revealed in a new way. Does that make the OT null and void? No! There are still many valuable lessons to be learned from it. However, things definitely changed when Jesus entered the picture.

    Let me know if I am coming off as mean, I don’t want it to be that way at all. I think this dialog is healthy, especially for people like us who go to the same church.

  11. I dont think you come off as mean at all….. 🙂 What I am trying to say is that God hasnt changed from the old testament to the new testament. Its just a lot easier to get to him now that Jesus shed his blood for us.
    I dont know what God will do, I dont know if he still would distroy a city like he did Soddom and Gommorah. My point was he doesnt put up with sin for long and he is not ok with people acting in definance to how he created them.
    Jesus said that he did not come to distroy the law or the prophets, but to fulfill them. Things became tougher when Jesus came because he said that the old testament said you should not committ adultry , but Jesus said if you look upon a woman to lust for her, you have committed adultry with her in your heart – Now we dont just follow the “rules”, Jesus is looking at our heart. So God hasnt changed, he in essence made things harder and easier all in the same breath.

    We could probably go on and on about this subject so I wont say anymore. I know that all of us want to reach a lost a dying world and I think its awesome 🙂

  12. Agreed, we both want to see Jesus’ love manifest in our day-to-day lives, and that is the main thing that matters.

    I don’t think I have come to the same conclusion as you in regards to the OT and the NT, but I totally respect your viewpoints. My heart breaks when things like the disaster in New Orleans happen and people compare it to Sodom and Gommorah. For me, that is not the God I serve.

  13. I’m not the type of person that yells at non-Christians for sinning. I understand that they don’t try to live there lives by the same standards. I also don’t think that a lot of the Boycotting works. But here is my one issue, Standards. I believe in the love of Jesus Christ but I still have standards that I believe and stand on. I don’t believe standing up for what I believe is hating!! I also think that the “world” needs to see that we are different. If you Boycott something have good reasons why not just because you received a chain e-mail about it. Sometimes I think in this PC world we are so afraid that someone will be mad at us for taking a stand. By trying to be “cool” in the worlds eyes we may actually miss an opportunity. Don’t you think a lot of the people you may know in your offices that are out getting drunk off their @$##@ every weekend are looking for something real and different.
    Just some thoughts. We can only control our own actions and not those of the whole Christian community.

  14. Oh, I would never compare any modern day disaster to the wrath of God. That is not where I was going with my comment at all. I would never ever compare New Orleans with Sodom and Gommorah. I think its just a city that sits on the ocean in a hurricane prone area and natural disasters happen. It was horrible what happened down there.
    Discussing things on a blog or email type setting is always a tricky situation because there is a lot of room to read into emotions that are there or arent there. If we were face to face its easier to see and read peoples hearts in the situation. 🙂

    Thats all 🙂

  15. Hi Everyone! Thanks for joining in on the conversation. Kelly – I love you! I totally see your heart in this. I agree that we HAVE to stand for righteousness. My goal for this post is not to say that we must lay down our standards. We must stand out in this world. This world is full of hate and angst and we must show this world how to love. I’m not afraid to stand out – but I want to stand out for my love – not for what I’m boycotting this month.

    This world will always persecute me for what I believe -ALWAYS. I am not supposed to persecute the world for persecuting me…I’m supposed to turn the other cheek. Jesus made it harder for us in the New Testament – in the Old Testament, we could rise up an army and fight, but in the new testament, we must beat them and their wicked ways with love and mercy – THAT’S HARD! We must respond to all types of wickedness with love. What did Jesus do when the world was persecuting him – he just kept carrying the cross…even as they were spitting in his face. He didn’t raise up an army of believers to boycott the government…

    Jesus said in John 12:47, “I did not come to judge the world, I came to save the world”. We are supposed to be known by our fruits – the first fruit of the spirit is LOVE…joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control – we are put to the test on how we will respond to the world and the persecution. I will choose to respond with love and mercy.

  16. Pingback: Here’s my point… « judi free!

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