How Would You Respond?

One morning recently in Sunday school class the teacher was talking about a show he had recently seen. It seems two families were sitting in a restaurant. One of the families started to say a blessing before they ate their meal. The other family became upset and in so many words said they did not want their religion shoved down their throat. Would they refrain from praying? The question was asked, “How would you respond?”
I have been doing some thinking since this class. How would I respond? How would any of us respond? Would we start off talking about our legal rights to free speech or the right to freedom of religion? Would we react negatively? Would our defenses come out?
There have been several issues in the news where people are being attacked for what they believe in and I am talking about both sides of the coin. We are talking about history (the Confederate flag), discrimination, and sexual orientation and now who is a hero and who is not. There are so many issues being brought up now you almost have to have a score card or a list to keep track; not to mention the beginnings of political grumblings about one another on both sides. 
My first response to the question was, “They will know we are Christians by our love.” Simple, but how true is it? I have seen on Facebook and other media including the news how some Christians are responding to some critical issues and I am afraid not all of the responses have been made through Christian love. I have even heard some Pastors say some things in front of the media that 
I am not sure showed love toward one another. That bothers me. 
How will people know we are Christians if we are not showing love for one another? I am reading a book called, “The Case for Christ” by Lee Strobel. It is a journalist’s personal investigation of the evidence for Jesus. The chapter I just read hits what we are talking about. Lee asks one of his expert witnesses about slavery. If Jesus knew slavery was wrong why didn’t He do something about it? The answer seemed logical to me. We all are aware that Jesus did not come into this world to overthrow the government or its rules. He was not here to change what was going on politically; he was here to change the heart of man. By changing the hearts of men you begin to change how people treat one another. Changing legislation or making new rules is not going to change how one thinks about an issue. Those attitudes will still be there. You can’t dictate how one feel towards an issue or one another. Sometimes I believe (my own personal belief) instead of working out a solution both can agree on you just make matters worse. 
What Jesus did was revolutionary. He didn’t go about changing laws; he went about changing hearts. If we as Christians have that same attitude how would things be different for us today? Instead of trying to change people’s hearts and minds about a certain subject whatever it is we should be about loving them and changing the hearts of men. Instead of reacting in a negative way, we should act in a Christian way; reaching out to others in love. 
I have told this story before. I was at Wal-Mart back in the area where you pick up your order. A woman behind the counter was not very friendly and looked like she had had it. Instead of responding negatively to her I said something like, “You look tired. I hope you get to feeling better.” She responded by telling me she’d been up all night at the hospital with her husband and then had to come on into work.” I think she had some other issues which she shared with me. I told her I would pray for her. Her whole attitude changed. Now I could have gone to management and complained about the poor service I received or her attitude, instead I reached out in Christian love and maybe just changed her day. She knew someone noticed and cared. They will know we are Christians by our love, words and actions. 
Our faith should not been heard in just words, but our actions. We can’t talk the talk and not walk the walk. It’s not only important to teach what Jesus taught while here on earth, but it’s just as equally important to walk the walk. For me that may mean to walk in Jesus’ shoes and love those who are different from me or not let my anger build because I wasn’t treated fairly or in the manner I think I should have been treated.
I have heard many people say this world is going downhill fast and they use a derogatory term. We all know it will happen, it says so in the Bible. But, I also wonder what we are doing to change the way it’s going? Are we stepping out in love and sharing Christ with others? Maybe, they don’t want to hear about Christ, but shouldn’t we love them and let them know that Christ taught about loving one another instead of turning our backs on them? I may not like how they live, what they do with their life, or their belief, but I can love them and show them Christ was all about love. Who knows after showing Christ’s love for them, and loving them beyond measure maybe one day they will want to hear about Christ and just maybe their hearts will be changed; not by what we do, but by the love we have shown toward them. My girls when they were in school would come home and say, I hate so and so.” I would respond (which they hated), “No you don’t hate so and so. You hate their actions. You love them because Jesus wants us to, but you hate the way they treated you.” We can hate the action and love the person. Jesus showed us while He was here on earth that changing men’s hearts changed attitudes toward one another. He didn’t set out to change laws; He set out to change hearts. Just maybe that is something we should be doing. 
They will know we are Christians by our love, by our love. 
We are one in the Spirit
We are one in the Lord
We are one in the Spirit
We are one in the Lord
And we pray that all unity may one day be restored
And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love
Yes, they’ll know we are Christians by our love
We will work with each other
We will work side by side
We will work with each other
We will work side by side
And we’ll guard each man’s dignity and save each man’s pride
And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love
Yeah, they’ll know we are Christians by our love, our love
By our love, our love, by our love, our love, by our love, our love
By our love, by our love, by our love, our love
by our love (Songwriters PETER SCHOLTES; Published by Lyrics © THE LORENZ CORPORATION)
1 Corinthians 13​
Dear Lord, Teach me to respond to others in Christian love so they will know about your love for them. When I feel I am being attacked teach me to respond as you did through love. You didn’t overthrow the government; you changed the hearts of men. Help me to reach out and do as you have called me to do. Help me to pray for those who are different or believe different than me. Help me not to say things in haste, but to react in love. I need to remember not only to talk the talk but walk the walk. If I speak in an unkind manner they will never know I am a Christian and it will go against your wishes. Thank you for challenging us to be more like you. Help me each day to strive and reach out to those who need to know Christ’s love. Amen. 

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