27 Jan 2011

Our Perceptions Affect Reality

Submitted by Stephen Winters

What we think that we believe (our perceptions) will guide our actions, and those actions will affect reality. For example, let's say that someone believes that his highest calling is to preach to the unsaved and try to win souls at all costs. He sees the world full of unsaved people who are going to hell. He believes that the bible is the word of God and that if he quotes enough scripture to people that  it will penetrate their heart. .. Consequently whenever he has a chance he strikes up a conversation with anyone he can. He tries to share the gospel with all of his friends and with his fellow workers at his job. Whenever he gets on a bus or an airplane he looks for an opportunity to sit next to someone and preach the gospel and quote bible verses to his quary. He sincerely believes that all these people are going to hell and that it is his responsibility to win them to Christ.

Gradually his coworkers shun him. His friends don't return his calls. He wonders why people are avoiding him. He thinks that he needs to try harder, but his friends and aquaintances avoid him even more. He does not seem to know it, but he is driving all these people away from him.

Compare this to a person who believes that all people are God's children, and that God loves them all. He understands what Jesus said, "No one can come to me unless the Father draws him." He realizes that it's not his job to try to win souls. His job is to be a light, meaning, to live as Jesus did and to love them1.  He loves all people and is helpful and courteous wherever he goes. He is quick to lend a hand wherever he goes. He is cheerful and pleasant to be around. He helps those in need. He is quick to listen whenever someone is depressed or hurting and needs someone to talk to. People enjoy being with him because he uplifts them. "Preach the gospel always, If necessary use words." ~ St. Francis of Assisi.

Christians of today have been taught that they need to constantly witness and preach the gospel, in words. But the reality is this doesn't work. Very few people come to Christ (and stay) because someone preached to them. If preaching the gospel with words worked, out churches would be filled to overflowing. Yet, this is not the case.

Much of preaching comes from a position of subtle pride. "I am saved, you are lost." The subtle message here is "I am better than you are." This drives people away.

  • 1. "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
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