"I have too much evidence of my liability to err to make my present opinions a test by which to judge the hearts of my fellow Christians."
-- Barton Stone
I was reminded of this quote when Pastor Mike gave a moving sermon a few Sundays back. He spoke about "A Changed Life" (John 4:1-45), which really had me thinking about the way I interact with Christians and non-Christians alike.
As a whole, I find I need to reach out more-- take an active role in befriending non-believers. I have said before (hmmm... on this blog or not?) that "Christians do not corner the market on morality." In believing this, I find no reason not to friend, hang out with, or otherwise become involved with good people outside the faith. Sure. Sometimes I will miss the mark and get burned, but I cannot disciple to others without reaching out. It is not enough for me to show His love to other believers or even those believers perfectly aligned with my own beliefs, I must show it to ALL people.
I have also been studying the history of the Disciples church and came across this tidbit in Lesson 2 of Streamers:
Recognizing that God speaks differently to each believer and that each believer’s path to God is
personal and unique, then judging others’ beliefs was to be left up to God. Another motto grew from this belief: “Not the only Christians, but Christians only.”
As with a group of people holding hands and standing in a circle, so it is with the church. As with our hands, we overlap in an essential place—our belief in Christ and love for each other—while the rest of us are the wonderfully, uniquely diverse people of God.
Believers and non-believers are an important part of my life. I feel no need to turn away from others. On the contrary. I feel compelled to reach out to good people of all faiths and non-faiths...believers and non-believers. Reading the above lessons and listening to Mike's sermon only reitereated that I am on the right path, but I still need to do better.
What about you? Do you stay in your comfort zone of like minded people? Or are you extending your hand (so to speak) to the Samaritan by the well?