This was one of the first posts I wrote at Putting on the New, and as I re-read it I feel exactly the same. (You know, sometimes I look back at an old post and cringe because things change. The blogosphere is an interesting place that way.)
But this post, from the Putting on the New archives, is still what I believe.
I believe that God has the ability to move us, not just with things that are in the Christian world, but with things found everywhere. God is everywhere. What’s more, He’s working on reaching into the hearts of people, not just His followers, but people everywhere.
Can you disagree with someone’s choices in life, but love them? Of course. God’s message is to love. Leave the judgment to Him. None of us here are qualified for it.
Can you find God’s inspiration, his message of love, in the secular world? You can find it anywhere God chooses to be. He will reach you where you are. He will find you, and when He does, you’ll want to follow. You’ll want to understand his message, and surround yourself with people who believe in him as well.
But there’s more. You’ll find Him in unusual places. You’ll see him in the tears of a dishonest person, in the melody off a nonbeliever’s song, in the words of a sinner’s poetry. You’ll see Him everywhere, because you never know where He is working.
My hope and prayer is always that God will take the words I’ve written (the very ones he’s inspired and enabled me to write) and use them to reach out to someone else. Sometimes I’ll get a lovely note from someone thanking me for something I’ve written. It’s nice. It feeds my soul. But it isn’t because I’m such a great writer. It’s because He’s a great God, and He allowed the whole thing to happen.
The point is, the focus of it all should be on Him. Plain and simple. It isn’t who watches which TV show, or who listens to which radio show, or who wears what to church, or gives what to whom. It’s God. The focus of it all should be on God. Anytime you take the focus off of God and give it to something else (gossip about why you think someone “isn’t a good Christian,” judgment about how someone lives their life, disgust over an assumption you’ve made about someone), you’re taking the focus off of Him and putting it on you.
How do you focus on Him? Pray. Listen to what He says. Think before you talk (He did give us two ears and one mouth, after all.) Read the Bible. Go to a Bible study and discuss things. Understand what’s being said. Study the life of Jesus. Learn from His example.
In other words, check in with Him all the time, so you can understand where He wants you, what He expects you to say, and how He thinks you should act.
What’s more, once you learn His words, don’t use them to “reprimand” someone you think needs it. Don’t use them as a point of argument. Don’t use them to attack. Use them to understand Him, to create a deeper relationship with Him. Then listen to what He wants for your life. You might be surprised at what you hear.