You are an Ambassador…
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In the news as of late is the planned Koran burning at the Dove World Outreach in Gainesville, Florida. Let’s get this out the way first…this is not about Islam.
I know that seems a bit of an odd statement. The church who is doing this is not really doing this because of what they believe about Islam, but because they’re trying to get a reaction, which they’re doing a pretty good job at.
I agree that Islam is a dangerous religion, and one that is leading many people away from the one true God. I agree with the statement the church made that I hope all come to a saving knowledge of Christ. However, burning the Koran is not a good way to do that.
I think back to the time I spent at the University of Michigan. There were people who came to campus and stood at the center of campus (called the Diag) and started shouting “You’re all going to hell!” While this got an interesting response from students, the impact on someone’s eternal destination was minimal at best, and hindered at worst.
As Christians, we are told that we are ambassadors of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20). As an ambassador, our job is not to make war with the people to whom we are representing Christ. Rather, it’s to draw people to Him. If we’re wearing things that sport hateful sayings, or engage in hateful activities, then how are we representing Christ? Christ didn’t do this while He was here. The only people he came close to this was the Pharisees, who were supposed to be the folks pointing people to God, and they were pointing them away from Him instead.
Even Paul didn’t do this. When he went to Greece, instead of going to the center of town and burning all they held precious, Paul looked at what they worshiped, and found a way to use that to point people back to God…through the altar to the “Unknown God” (Acts 17:23).
Why, then, do we as modern day Christians think we’re going to draw people to Christ when we’re offensive and confrontational? This church in Gainesville is symptomatic of a more global problem in the way we think…just demonstrated in a way most of us wouldn’t.
So what are we to do? I recommend two things: 1) build in your relationship with Christ and 2) build relationships with others. When we’re growing in our relationship with Christ, we become more like Him, which includes a greater heart for others. When we build relationships with others, we allow them to see Christ in our lives in a way that’s hard with shallow relationships.