if you call yourself a christian, you’ve probably been raised to want others to become christians also.
it comes with the territory. it’s part of our culture.
but have you ever stopped to ask yourself, “why?” why do you want others to believe what you believe? why is it important that people have the same understanding of god that you do?
i think the priority reason that i was always taught…and what always seemed to make the most sense to me…was that i didn’t want people to go to hell when they died. at a young age, i embraced the idea that those who didn’t hold to the same tenets of my personal belief system would spend eternity in endless physical torment. hell was something that scared me as a child…for myself, as well as my friends.
the problem was (and still is) that, although the potential of that horrible fate bothered me quite a bit, it didn’t ever seem to bother my friends. in fact, most of the time they just made fun of it. you see, when you don’t really believe in god, you don’t really believe much in the afterlife either. heaven or hell.
so trying to strike the fear of hell in my friends was pointless to them. and it usually left me feeling ambivalent.
over the years, my motives for sharing my faith have undergone quite an overhaul. there are as many difficulties for believing in the existence of god and the uniqueness of jesus as there are people. everybody views life and faith through their own particular lens…and sometimes that lens is scratched, full of smudges, or even cracked.
because of that, maybe our insistence on focusing attention on the afterlife ought to be rethought. maybe we ought to get a little better at showing people why knowing god and loving god and serving god makes such a difference right here. and right now.
maybe we should get a little more comfortable with the idea that jesus came to give us life before we die…and not just sometime after we’re gone from this earth.
maybe that concept would make more sense to people.
i know it does to me.