As I peruse the internet, the terrifying, useful tool that it is, I keep running into a particular idea. The idea is that Christians are known more for what we don’t do or believe than what we do or believe. In other words, Christianity is known in purely negative terms instead of positive ones, in both senses of the terms.
There was a time when Christians were known more for positive doings that negative not doings. The early church was known for meeting in homes regularly, sharing their possessions with those people who needed it. They were known for accepting anyone into their communities regardless of gender, class, race, or background. They were known for their work respecting and treating the poor and needy with care and compassion. They were known for caring for abandoned children.And for all of these things the early Christians were suspected of bad motives and intentions.
The one negative the early Christians had in their corner was a refusal to worship the emperor or the state. By stating “Christ is Lord” they were simultaneously saying, “And Caesar is not.” Christians understood that there could be only one Lord in their life, and by choosing Christ, they were denying Caesar and, in some ways, their own rights and privileges.
Today, what I see is that Christians are known for what we are against: abortion, homosexuality, drugs, alcohol, divorce, sexual activity, etc. Many of these issues are important, and the Bible does speak to them. However, Christians need to ask how does the Bible speak to it? Is there violence dictated for our response? Is anger and spite supposed to be in our response?
I wonder how many kids learn about being a Christian by receiving a list of “don’ts” instead of a list of “dos.” It would make sense how many young people seem to fall away from their faith as they grow. It’s hard to base a foundation of trust on negative statements. Instead, why not use Jesus’ teaching, which often used “dos”. “Go and do likewise,” “Love God,” “Love your neighbor as yourself,” and “Do to others as you would have them do to you.”
Christians should be positive people. And by that I mean that Christians should be known for what we do, rather than what we don’t. Instead of just arguing a point, be the solution. When one of these big issues comes up, consider what you and your family could do to be part of the solution rather than another voice in the argument.
Christians, even marginalized, persecuted ones, have been slowly changing the world into something greater. God’s mission is to shape our world where it is. So let us join with Christians all over the world in the slow, intentional kingdom work to change hearts and minds by the things that we do, rather than by putting up signs about what we don’t.