Tuesday, April 29, 2008

How far is the East from the West?

[cross-posted on my xanga]

Lately I am reminded of how gracious God is, and how much we fall short of the mark. For four years in college I was extremely active in my campus Christian fellowship, so that I'm almost certain that the number of hours I spent in fellowship, evangelism, and bible study was equivalent to (if not more than) the amount of time I spent on schoolwork. We forged friendships that were supposed to be good for a lifetime, and then some. And as far as friends go, I owe to my college fellowship some of the best friends I have had.

But as Christians, we're not just supposed to be there for our dearest friends. We are supposed to love our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, the poor and the disenfranchised, the widows and orphans. Easy, right?

We are also called to love those who suffer from mental illness. We are to love those that we don't know how to deal with because they are struggling with questions of how to be Christian and transgendered. We are to love those who are trying to figure out how to be Christian and gay. In the past year I've had three different friends approach me with these issues. And they have indicated in various ways the belief that our Christian friends from college would not be or have not been supportive.

This is how we lose people. It's not necessarily that we push them away; we just fail to bring them in. Because they're not extroverted, successful, funny. Because they're sometimes awkward or moody. Because they question their identity in ways that we don't understand or have decided are wrong. Because they don't nod their heads in agreement with every word the preacher proclaims True. Because their political opinions differ from ours. Because they don't fit the mold.

When we respond with instant judgment, disapproval or even disdain, it's easier for them to decide that perhaps Christianity is not for them. And we are happy to let them go, because it's so much easier than having to deal with the questions.

It breaks His heart.