I have lived a cynical, walled in life for far too long. Lately I have been really trying to branch out and make new friends. For a long time my closest friends have been just like me. They are heavily involved in church and various ministries, love Jesus, and live a "Christian life". In the past few months I have noticed that I am suddenly not close to many of those people anymore. It hurt at first, but I think I am beginning to understand it more now. I had closed myself off to non-believers, and sadly that is common for Christians. It is easier to spend time with people who think the same way as you do.
From now on, I want to live a life that is an encouragement to those around me, whether they believe in my God or not. I want my character to scream Christ, not my mouth. I want my life to represent my Jesus without it coming out of my mouth constantly. Don't misunderstand me, I still intend on talking about him, but it is not my main focus. I just want to love people like Jesus did.
In college ministry I had a friend tell me that so many people that were Christians were obnoxious about it. She made it clear that she didn't want to go to church because of the way God's people represented him. I asked her if I had ever made her feel that way and if I had I wanted to apologize. She said "actually I don't think you and I have ever had a conversation about God. And I know you wouldn't shove it down my throat anyway." At first I felt like I had failed to do my part, but I realized that she was actually giving me a compliment. The name of Jesus didn't have to come out of my mouth for me to show him in my life.
From now on I want to look for opportunities to encourage people and show them Christ without verbally laying out the gospel for them. Don't get me wrong, there is a time and a place for that and it is important, but it isn't always what people need right then. Sometimes we just plant the seed in someone's life, other times we water it, and sometimes we are fortunate enough to reap the harvest and see someone come to Christ. Sometimes we are all 3 in someone's life, but most of the time we are only 1 of them. Isn't it important to do our part, even in the small things?