This post is not written in my usual story-telling voice. A question was posed to me last week, which I have pondered and prayed about. This morning, I was convicted with an answer. Imagine my surprise when this post showed up in my twitter feed. Of course, Pete deserves an answer. So, I am publishing this post without careful editing and without a story or picture to capture your imagination. Maybe Pete will let me borrow his awesome graphic to dress this post up a bit. Wink, wink. (Post Script, see below for why I added this picture.)
The Question: How can we love people into the Kingdom of God using the Internet? How can we show non-believers Christ’s Agape love? What are the best ways to show this love?
I think the best way to show love on the internet is to just be.
God made us to desire relationship, to participate in community. I think he gave us interests, as well as needs for that purpose. We are drawn to people with similar interests. We are given compassion and empathy to draw us to those in need. If we are honest, we are also drawn to those who can meet our needs. Why not live in the flow God created?
Take interest in people for who they are. Connect with people who like the things you like. Talk about those things. Listen to what people say. If something peaks your interest, ask for more. Be open to learning something new. Just be who God made you and take genuine interests in other members of his creation.
I am a recovering Pharisee and I don’t say that casually. I used to think that if my life was good enough people would be drawn to Jesus and, together, we would save the world. (I have been humbled. Praise God.) People aren’t interested in perfection. Most atheists have been hurt by religion. They have seen people trying hard to be good enough and looking down on those who aren’t. Many atheists have decided they can be good enough without all the judgement from so-called brothers and sisters. But Jesus didn’t come because we are good enough. He came because he alone is good. He came to give his life for ours. He came to rescue his creation, to be rejoined with us – the try hard but always fail sinners. He came for relationship. He came so he could live in us and us in him. Why not let him do that?
My favourite movie line is, “If believing the way they does makes them the way they is, I reckon it needs lookin’ into.” Not because it’s my favourite movie, but because the line speaks volumes. People are more interested in how you live than what you believe. If they are drawn to the way you live, they’ll go deeper and discover what you believe.
How do your beliefs affect the way you live?
What does the way you live say about what you believe?
If you believe that God is love, do you then live in love?
Practically speaking, seek natural relationship as mentioned above. Be real. Let people know you’re your day stinks and why you’re still smiling. Show compassion. Be sad when someone is hurting. Rejoice when things go well for another. If you think someone’s puppy is cute or their children are adorable, tell them. Say, “I’m sorry.”
I took a quick look at the major sermons in Acts. Most of them were requested. Those that weren’t were spoken after an act of service (usually a miracle). That doesn’t mean we have to wait for people to ask us about Jesus. I do think, however, we need to give them a reason to ask. At least, we need to give a reason for telling. I want my reason to be God’s love.
How do you show love to people on the internet?
I hope you’ll join in the discussion here or at Not Ashamed of the Gospel.
P.S. I came back tonight to add this picture after Pam mentioned a rock in her comment. I have walked by, over and on this spot may times. I never noticed the beauty of it until my son took an interest in it and took the photograph. To any passer by, it is just a brick stuck in the gravel road. To the one who took the time to stop and notice, it became a thing of beauty. I think that’s what all people need, someone to stop and notice the beauty God created in them. Thanks, Pam.