This post has no title because I wasn’t sure what to call it. Over the weekend I had opportunity to talk to a couple of friends about the topic of religion and it’s effect on our credibility to witness effectively to non-believers. One pointed out the reality of our religious attitudes in that we frown upon non-believers being potty-mouthed (swearing) but believe it is okay for us, believers to use language that destroys others character (gossip).
Isaiah 29:13 says the Lord says “These people say they are mine. They honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far away. And their worship of me amounts to nothing more that human laws learned by rote. Translation their worship is a farce.
Religion can lead to us going through the motions, sticking to religious rules and behaviour to the exclusion of the people we have been saved to save and to serve. What we believe should influence what we say and in the process of recovery that should include cleaning up our language. Because our manner of speech also influences others who are listening and examining what difference Jesus has made in our character. Especially those who are not yet believers or are still caught up in the bondage of addiction looking for a way out.
As I pondered the subject of religion today I thought “how do people see me?”, thinking about other believers, because I believe other believers look at us with a much more critical eye than non-believers. Here’s what I thought! I work for the Salvation Army and am a member of the Baptist church. Some people in the Baptist church see me as “a salvationist in the Baptist Church, who doesn’t really fit in” because I have a long relationship with the Salvation Army. It is where I received recovery and became a Christian, spent a large part of my life as a church member. Some people in the Salvation Army see me as “a baptist, working for the Salvation Army, who doesn’t really fit in” because I changed my membership from TSA to the Baptist Church for the benefit of my faith and family.
Now I have news for both groups of people I am neither and I am both. Explanation: I am a child of God, saved by Grace to serve His Church (the fellowship of His people, which includes bit The salvation Army and the Baptist Church) wherever He calls me to serve.
Denomination isn’t important to me because the majority of the people I want to reach for Him are not in churches, they are the people we are called to GO to and make them disciples. When they come to recovery I don’t care if they are potty-mouthed as long as they don’t drag down other peoples character (gossip) and are willing to be open minded enough to realise their need of relationship with Him to allow Him to transform them into credible witnesses of His love and power.
It’s not about religion it’s about relationship – (that’s the title)