(1 Thessalonians 2:4, NLT) For we speak as messengers approved by God to be entrusted with the Good News. Our purpose is to please God, not people. He alone examines the motives of our hearts.
I take great comfort in knowing that God knows my heart. So often in life, things that we say and do get misconstrued. Our pure motives do not always shine through, for different reasons, and people who aren’t well acquainted with us will sometimes get the wrong impression.
In a time when people are so quick to become offended about every little thing, it can be difficult to allow ourselves to be messengers of God. There is this fine line that we seem to be toeing as Christians — on one hand, we don’t want to offend people who we are trying to reach and be a beacon of Christ’s love to, yet on the other hand, if we are not careful, it becomes a situation where we are tiptoeing around others so much that we lose the loving and holy boldness that we need in order to share the Good News. We are so afraid that someone will take offense to our belief in the gospel of Christ that we simply just do not share it. It becomes lost amidst our constant pandering and cajoling.
We have to stop overthinking it so much. It really is just a matter of love…and loving others doesn’t always equate with accepting everything that they do! You don’t have to march around protesting every single thing that is contrary to what you believe, but you can have the boldness to answer questions in a loving and truthful manner. When someone asks you what you think about a controversial issue, you should be confident enough in your spiritual maturity to trust that when you speak the truth from your heart, God’s love will still shine through. We can’t always control how others perceive us, but we can always control what we say and do, and how we say and do it.
When you love God with your whole heart, it can be upsetting when someone rejects Him and His love — especially when it is someone for whom you care very much. Just this week, I had a conversation with one of my third-graders (we’ll call her Jessica) about this exact type of situation. She was very upset because one of her best little buddies (who we will call April) told her that she doesn’t believe in God. Jessica just couldn’t believe it, and the look on her face was one of deep anguish. It truly hurt her heart to know that April didn’t believe in God. She told me, “I can’t be friends with her anymore.” I responded by telling her that just because April doesn’t share her beliefs, doesn’t mean that they can’t be friends anymore. I went on to tell her that this only made their friendship even more important. I explained to her that sometimes we have to stop arguing God’s case and simply show His love through our actions. She thought about that for a moment and then she smiled. She said, “Ms. Liz, I know you’re right. So that’s what I’m going to do.” The next day, Jessica came up to me with the biggest smile on her face. She was so excited to share with me the news that April had said that because Jessica decided to be her friend anyway, she now wanted to hear more about Jesus and believe in Him too.
I love this example of what God’s love can do, even amongst the social interactions of children in a school environment. As Christians, we must be like my little third grade student: share the truth, resolve ourselves to the fact that it will be rejected at times, and then just love the stuffin’ out of people no matter what…because that is what God will see. He looks past our pretenses and He sees who we truly are in our deepest heart of hearts. As long as we are seeking to please Him, what others seem to think just doesn’t matter so much anymore. We can’t live for the world and for God as the same time, but we most certainly can live for Him as a part of this world — doing our best to show ourselves worthy of this trust He has placed in us to be His ambassadors here on Earth.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I trust Your ways above my own. Help me to be sensitive and to use wisdom when I am living out my calling as Your messenger. May I always speak the truth in love, never compromising what I know, but always allowing Your love to be the common denominator in all that I say and do. Help me to be more concerned about what You see than what others see, and help me to remember that if I am pleasing You, then they will see You. Amen.