If you're new today, the Fall '11 Blog Bible study is a blog-based Bible-Study/Devotional designed for those of us who would like to take the amazing community of women bloggers online, and extend it to encouraging each other in faith. Right now, we'll be working through Paul: 90 Days on His Journey of Faith by Beth Moore. Each day has a short 1-2 page reading and a few reflection questions. Then, at the end of the week, I'll post some of my own thoughts/reflections, as well as a link-up. If you feel so inclined, I'd love for you to link up with your thoughts as well! If you'd like to join, but are just coming across this post now, it's not too late--just start whenever. And if you fall behind, no worries, and no guilt...we're all just doing the best we can, and none of us are perfect :)
This week, we saw and studied a bit of the transformation of how Saul became Paul. I think I'd always known that they were one and the same, but I don't think I really realized what that meant. I don't think I really realized the implications that came along with it. I mean, Saul had once actively persecuted followers of Christ in Damascus. Only a short time later, he returned to Dasmascus, but then he was called Paul, and he was a follower of Christ himself. Can you imagine what that must have been like? Returning to that city, knowing how people would mock and ridicule you? How they'd question your motives? Would you wonder if they'd actually hear anything you were saying at all? Would you feel like your reputation was impossible to overcome?
In the Reflection Questions on Day 11, Beth Moore asks, "Are there elements of your reputation that make it hard for you (especially at work or within your family) to relinquish visible control of your lift to Christ? What patterns of expected behavior present the toughest obstacles to overcome?"
For me personally, sometimes I feel like our reputations as Christians as a whole precede us. There have been (and still are) a lot of really awful things that are done in the name of Christ, even though I don't believe they come from him. There's a lot of judgment. A lot of hate. A lot of pot calling the kettle black. Sometimes, when people ask about my religion and I tell them that I'm Christian, I get the distinct impression that they think I'm an extremist who hates gays and lesbians, and judges everyone...and that bothers me. Not even because that's what they think of me, but because of what they must think of Christ.
Know what the caption is for this last image over on Pinterest?
"I think if more people believed in John Cusak's Jesus, I wouldn't hate 'Christians' so much."
Lord, help me to be the best steward I can of your love. Help me to treat others the way that you would have treated them. Help me not to judge, and not to get so wrapped up in debates about theology and dogma that I miss sharing the most important part--your never-ending, unfailing love.
What about you guys? Anything strike you this past week?