Do We Point Others away from Christ or to Christ?
Sheldon Van Auken wrote a few sentences that should deeply challenge and humble every Christian: “The best argument for Christianity is Christians—their joy, their certainty, their completeness. But the strongest argument against Christianity is also Christians—when they’re self-righteous and smug in complacent consecration. When they’re narrow and repressive, then Christianity dies a thousand deaths.”
Every human being comes into this world with a God-shaped vacuum in his or her soul. Because of that God-shaped vacuum, every person is looking for God. The problem is that people often don’t know where to look to find God. Unfortunately, unappealing behavior from Christians often causes seekers to look away from Christ instead of to Him.
Jesus said to His followers, “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16)
About the light we can shine, Madeleine L’Engle comments, “We do not draw people to Christ by loudly discrediting what they believe, by telling them how wrong they are and how right we are, but by showing them a light that is so lovely that they want with all their hearts to know the source of it.”
People all over the world, no matter their age, are looking for that light that might draw them to the God who loves them. The good news is that we do not have to be wonderful, perfect people to draw others to God. We can be normal people in whom Christ’s light lives. For example, listen to a conversation my 5-year-old granddaughter’s good friend had with her mother:
Sarah: “Last night as I was reading the creation story from Madelyn’s Bible Stories book to her the following exchange took place:”
Madelyn (pointing at the picture of an angel in Eden): “Mommy, is that God?”
Sarah: “No, Sweetie, that’s an angel.”
Madelyn: “Where is God?”
Sarah: “God is everywhere and in heaven and, well, no one really knows what God looks like.”
Madelyn: “Mommy, I know what God looks like.”
Madelyn: “Uh huh. God looks like Eleanor.”
People all over are looking for evidence of God’s light and love. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if people might see that in us like Madelyn saw it in Eleanor?