I have a problem with “Bible thumpers.”
You know… those folks who will beat you over the head with the Word of God in order that you might “get saved.”
This is why:
If you are a Christian, living as Christ instructed, you will never need to “thump” anyone to get their attention.
Your life… your every thought and action and reaction in life should radiate like a bright shining light in the world.
In fact, we are told that, as Christians, we are like a bright light on a hill. Everyone for miles around can’t help but notice it.
I wonder, sometimes, if my life looks any different to the world than the lives of all those around me. Is it obvious that I’m a Christian?
Consider this bit of a letter written by Paul and Timothy to the church at Phillipi (emphasis, mine):
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Or these words, from Jesus:
A new command I give you. Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.
Do you show that kind of trust? Do you have that kind of peace? Are you NEVER anxious about ANYTHING? Do you love your brothers and sisters with the kind of love that Christ showed… the kind of love that was endlessly patient, endlessly forgiving and completely without self-interest?
If you do… if you even come close… then you will never have a need to shove your beliefs in the face of anybody. People will clamor to know what gives you the “peace that passes all understanding.”
“How can you be so calm in this storm?”
“How can you forgive him after he did THAT?”
“How can you get out of bed in the morning knowing that?”
“How can you give something to that person, not knowing what they will do with it?”
When these questions are asked, THEN you have the perfect opportunity to share, gently and kindly and with love, The Good News of Jesus. Share the Bible! Tell its wonderful stories! Explain the extraordinary message of Hope contained in those beautiful, sacred pages!
When they ask, be ready to tell!
If no one has ever asked you a question like that, maybe you should check to see if you are “hiding your light under a basket.”
And, we must never forget that the Bible tells us that it is through the Grace of God that people are given “ears to hear” the message.
Perhaps that person you are bludgeoning with your Good Book hasn’t yet reached the place where they are ready to accept what you know. That’s OK. It’s not your place or your business to make them ready. It’s not my place. It’s not the place of the pastor or the priest or the bishop or the pope. It’s God’s business to prepare their hearts and bring them close to Him (or Her, if you prefer).
Don’t worry about someone else’s faith.
“Be anxious about NOTHING.” Remember? That includes being anxious about your neighbor’s beliefs.
Leave it to God to bring those people to you (or to whomever they need to be close to) when the time is right.
Be a shining light. Always.
In all things, show love.
God is love. (1 John 4:8)
What does that look like?
Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast. It is not proud. It is not rude. It is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered. It keeps no record of wrong. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Please, stop thumping people with your Bible.
I’m afraid that society, as a whole, is getting a headache from it!
Just love. Have faith. Allow the peace that transcends all rationality wash over you. And know that God is in control.
And guess what? If you do that, you may find that the Joy of the Kingdom of God isn’t so very far away at all.