This morning, (04.26.16) I heard Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, make a statement that impacted me in a powerful way. While fielding the questions being asked, he said something to this effect, “For too long, the Republican party has been known only for its conservative views. We are known more for what we are against than what we are for. It’s time for that to change. Rather than being known for what we oppose, we need to be known for what we propose.” He went on to suggest that we need to start talking about positive alternatives to negative issues. He mentioned, “Rather than spewing rhetoric about how much we may hate Obamacare, we should either offer a viable solution, or work with the Democrats to fix the problems that do exist with the healthcare system.” (My paraphrase) In other words, propose instead of oppose.
I’m concerned that the worldview of Christianity is similar. I’m quite certain that we have shouted our opposition over abortion, LGBT rights, guns, drugs, illegal aliens etc., loudly and frequently enough that society knows we are adamantly against any issue that conflicts with our faith. Those who do not follow Christ are probably NOT going to change their viewpoints simply because WE are against something. Instead of “spewing rhetoric” about what we think is wrong with society, why don’t we propose a positive alternative? “Alternative” implies there are options to be chosen. Jesus came to provide eternal life, but He does not REQUIRE anyone to choose Him. Individuals are just as free to NOT choose Christ. AND, HE STILL LOVES THEM! Who then, am I to judge someone who makes a choice to reject Christ?
To be influential, we must change our tone. For instance, instead of telling someone they should stop lying, why couldn’t we talk about the positive influence that speaking the truth has produced in our own life. (Truth brings freedom while dishonesty produces fear) Instead of raising our voices, pointing our fingers, and posting rants from behind the safety of a computer screen, why don’t we offer a soft answer that will turn away wrath and allows for face-to-face conversation? Instead of the famous, “Get right or get left” nonsense, why not simply suggest, “Jesus loves us all and provides a wonderful opportunity to live life fully—right now and for all eternity. Whether you choose to believe or not will not change my love for you!”
I only have one life to live; one opportunity to represent Christ. I really don’t have time to fix the world. I can’t boycott enough businesses to get the message across. I don’t want to have people filing by my coffin one day saying, “He was against this, that, and everything in between!” I want people to say, “He was a man who loved God and loved me unconditionally. He spoke softly, loved deeply, and impacted his circle of influence by the faithful life that he lived on behalf of His God.”
And maybe, just maybe, someone will accept Christ because they knew what I was FOR rather than what I was AGAINST.