Tuesday, April 02, 2013

A Little Empathy, Please

I hesitate to write this post. I really don't want it to be taken the wrong way.
It is not meant to be a condemnation of others. I just want to share some of the hard lessons that I've had to learn myself in order to save somebody else some of the trouble. It's been said that experience is the best teacher, but we should try to learn from the mistakes of others because we really don't have enough time to make them all ourselves. I've made plenty of them; trust me.

I recently mentioned how some of our posts can drive away the very people that we should be trying to reach. Unfortunately, I keep seeing the same types of posts and they often come from pastors, preachers or other pretty solid Christians. I'm not without a sense of humor and I enjoy a joke as much as the next guy, but there isn't anything funny about people that are living without God.

In the recent past, I've seen the story of an atheist bringing a case to court for a holiday that atheists can celebrate. The judge rules that they already have a holiday and refers to the Bible saying that a fool says in his heart that there is no God. He rules that April Fool's Day is their holiday.
I've seen the same thing posted as a sign.

There was a time in the not too distant past that I would quip that God doesn't believe in atheists. The problem with that is that God does believe in atheists--and He loves them, sent His Son to die for them and has tasked us to tell them the Good News of salvation in Jesus.

The online Dictionary.com defines empathy as "the intellectual identification with or vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another."

It could be that you don't have any atheist friends. It could be that it's supposed to be humor for your Christian friends. For some reason I keep thinking of how the Republican party keeps saying that they want to reach out to minorities but politicians keep making insulting ethnic comments. One the one hand we (Christians) say that we are concerned about the eternal lives of unbelievers, but on the other hand we say things that will pretty much insure that we'll never be able to reach them.

If you're an atheist, you're a fool.
If you're gay, you're an abomination.
If you've had an abortion, you're a murderer.

Put a little hate and judgment (or laughter and a condescending tone) in your voice as you say those last sentences and tell me if you would listen to yourself if you were the person on the receiving end. Let's try to keep focused on the end game...reaching the lost with the Good News of salvation in Jesus. Let's try not to make it more difficult for ourselves or for others to talk to non-believers about God's love.

I figure that my own words and attitudes of the past have done enough damage to the reputation of Jesus and His kingdom. While I can't go back and un-say my harsh words, perhaps I can save somebody else the regrets that come with the realization that you may bear some of the responsibility of giving Jesus and Christianity a bad name.

John <><



4 comments:

eViL pOp TaRt said...

Good thoughts, John. Some of that humor is not the way toward persuasion or making friends.

May you have extra blessings on this beautiful God-given day!

Kevin said...

John,

The last several years have been a time of much reflection for me as you likely know from some of my writings. It wasn't long ago that I thought I had it all figured out with respect to politics but then I was more or less forced to reconsider all that I'd been supporting and not questioning. Once I began to do that and write about it and own my words and thoughts in my writings i also began to question my approach to my faith and to others who lived lives different than my own.

It's been quite an awakening to me and I'm thankful for the unexpected nudge that caused me to begin this journey of reflection.

John Hill said...

Thank you, Angel. Blessings to you, as well!

Kevin, we have made similar journeys in regards to politics and faith. I'm glad that you have shared your journey. Keep on traveling, brother. If we don't meet someplace along the way, we will meet when we get home!

Amanda said...

You make a very good point there.