Even though I am free of the demands and expectations of everyone, I have voluntarily become a servant to any and all in order to reach a wide range of people: religious, nonreligious, meticulous moralists, loose-living immoralists, the defeated, the demoralized—whoever. I didn’t take on their way of life. I kept my bearings in Christ—but I entered their world and tried to experience things from their point of view. I’ve become just about every sort of servant there is in my attempts to lead those I meet into a God-saved life. I did all this because of the Message. I didn’t just want to talk about it; I wanted to be in on it! 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 (The Message)
I hope you didn't just skim over the passage above. I normally don't quote from The Message, but in this case, it portrayed this particular passage so well, I had to use it.
The Apostle Paul was an amazing man and disciple of Christ. His main goal in life was to save the Lost, to draw people to Christ so they wouldn't spend eternity in hell. Like Jesus, Paul used whatever means he could to accomplish this goal. He hung out with all sorts of people, prostitutes, the riff-raff of society as well as Greek intellectuals and religious zealous. And in each case, he conformed himself to their way of thinking and life. No, he didn't sin, but he became like them so that they could relate to him so that he could eventually tell them about Jesus.
If you claim to be a Christian, what is your main goal? Is it to live as good a life as you can? Buy that house and car and raise your kids and pray God blesses you with a good retirement and good health? Or is it to save as many people from hell as you can? And if so, what are you willing to do to achieve that goal?
Are you willing to go to a night club with a friend who isn't saved is she asks you? Or will you look down your nose at her and tell her you would never set foot in a place like that? (Think of the witnessing opportunities in such a place!) Would you go up and talk to someone covered in tattoos and piercings or would you turn away in disgust? How about the young girl in your neighborhood who dresses promiscuously? Do you avoid her, shocked at her fleshly display? What about the teenager who smokes pot down the street? The couple who are living together in sin next door? Do you steer clear of them? How about that gay couple on the next block? Would you accept an invitation to dinner?
How are we going to save these people if we don't associate with them on their level? We Christians (and I include myself in this as well) are the most judgmental people on the planet! We pick, and criticize and judge each other and the world for every little thing we see as being against God's law. Isn't that what Jesus came to abolish? I'm not saying we should go out and join sinners in their sinful activities, but we should go out and join sinners! And we should do whatever we can to make them feel comfortable with us, so they see us as friends and not self-righteous people who look down our noses at them!
Honestly, I've met some Christians lately that if I weren't already saved, I'd never want to become a Christian. Too often we live in our Christian bubbles and end up being just like the Pharisees Jesus despised.
Sometimes as a Christian writer, I feel like I can never win. From the book cover to the story content to the characters and theme, there's always either some Christian who finds me offensive or some non-believer who finds me too prudish! In fact, MOST of my criticism has come from Christians. Again I remind myself that my ultimate goal is the reach the lost. If I need to put a cover on a book that may look a bit salacious (without crossing the line) or if I include a word or a scene that some find objectionable YET a non-believer reads the story and enjoys it and starts thinking about God, then I've done my job!
Like Paul, I want to become whoever or whatever I can in order to save as many as I can. (Yet without sinning) I am not without guilt in this regard, so please do not misunderstand this post. I write it to myself as well as to any of us. But be forewarned that someday, though it is never my intention, I may offend you.
Yet I must stay the course God has put me on.