This is a post that's been "brewing" for awhile now and I decided a Sat. night when the kids are in bed & dh is at work until who knows when, is as good a time to get it down as any . . .
Over the last several months (& off an on before that) I've been focusing on growing spiritually. And as a part of that growth, there are some conservative Christian (not necessarily SDA) sites, blogs, and forums that I've read as time allows. It's made me question many things and grow in many way, but one thing that pops up from time to time makes me sad . . . and that is how unforgiving and "holier than thou" people can be. There's also perhaps a tiny part of me that can't decide whether to be relieved or saddened to learn that it's not just an SDA thing (relieved because it's not just a flaw in my own church, saddened to know that it's more wide-spread than I thought). I'm saddened to "hear" people who, in many ways, I admire the closeness of their Christian walk, even if I don't always agree with their theology, say things like "how can I even read this book on Christian parenting when the author believes differently than I do on women in the pulpit". Now no, I probably wouldn't sit down and read an entire book on the rapture, because I feel strongly in my own end time beliefs which do not include the rapture. But to say I don't feel that I might learn something from a Christian mother of 5, about parenting, because she feels differently than I do about women speakers, seems limiting to me . . .
Perhaps the comments that sadden me the most are those directed at individuals who have made bad choices. Christians who are angered by people of other religions asking them to pray for family members, etc. And only being willing to pray for those peoples' salvation, but not their safety, etc. Christians advising other Christians to keep their children away from the children of broken homes because it can be difficult to explain to a toddler why their friend's daddy doesn't live with them, "should you be associating with people like that anyway?" . . . I have some close friends who had a child out of wedlock when very young and, I believe, because of the love, support (not of their choices, but of them as people) and fellowship of their church families, now are happily married and active in the church. I don't know of any (not saying there aren't any, just that I don't know of any) women who have gotten pregnant out of wedlock, and been shunned by their church family, lectured about how horrible their sin was, and told "you made your bed, you'll have to lie in it" who are still in the church.
Why would a Christian not be willing to pray for ALL people? Perhaps our prayers will help God to speak to them and draw them to Him. Perhaps our prayers for that person's safety will keep him safe long enough to become right with God. Perhaps we should pray for him & love him because he is a fellow human being, no matter what . . .
There's a small church that we pass on our way to church and they have one of those signs that you can change to say whatever you want sitting where it can be seen from the road. I haven't noticed it as much recently, but for a long time, most weeks the "message" on the sign struck me as something that would cause a struggling person to run far far away from that church, not be drawn in. Should we dilute the message in order to "win souls"? No. But sending messages that will offend the sinner doesn't seem to be in keeping with God's command to go unto all nations either.
So, I'm not sure who all reads this, and I'm not sure what your religious affiliation (if any) is, but regardless of that, I challenge you to remember always, to think about what Jesus would do and remember that Jesus told us, above all, to Love our Neighbors!