Someone I don’t know well personally, but respect professionally, mentioned on social media she wanted to learn more about the “evangelical world.” She said it was foreign to her, but like many people who don’t understand evangelical Christians, she is a good person who wants to promote love, unity and peace so she thought she’d check us out.
I immediately prayed for her and commented in as few words as possible to avoid screwing up. If there is one thing this evangelical Christian is good at, it’s that. But the more I prayed the more afraid I became. Not just afraid because of me and my hypocrisy, judgmental heart and unpopular viewpoints – but afraid she’ll miss Christ because of all Christians.
When Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was his response was simple and two pronged:
Love God. Love people.
I want to tell my friend the first part is generally easy, but that second part? I struggle to love myself most days, let alone other humans. Sadly, I’ve found loving the Christians is usually way harder than loving the unchurched. And what if she tries to learn about Jesus solely through the imperfect, not-always-loving, limited knowledge of Christian bloggers and writers?
I’m afraid for my friend for other reasons, too. I’m afraid because although Christ’s love for us is perfect, unexplainable and will take me a lifetime to even scratch the surface of knowing, experiencing and understanding – God assures us in the Bible in this life we will have trouble. Life is difficult and full of disappointments. I’m afraid because although nothing is better than knowing Christ’s love, sometimes it’s tough seeing it through this world, people and religion.
So why am I still praying for my friend despite so many things that might scare her away from Christ?
I’m praying for my friend because she’s a mom raising kids in a scary world. I’m praying for her because at the end of the day there are more questions than answers and although all Christians are imperfect, Christ is not. I’m praying for her because I have not been able to find hope or make any sense of cancer, Harvey and North Korea outside of Jesus Christ. I’m praying for her because with or without Christ violence, hatred and other difficult realities still happen but withChrist I have a shred of hope that the good guys win someday. I’m praying for my friend because although my faith walk has been difficult and disappointing at times, I always end up coming back more in love with Jesus Christ.
I’m praying for my friend because although relationships, the church and circumstances can disappoint, Jesus has given me peace, confidence in parenting despite this messed up world, strength beyond myself and most of all, hope.
And who doesn’t want that for another human being loved deeply and intimately by God (so much so that He gave us His only Son)?
Praying for you, Maggie.