Point to Love

I don’t agree with the Mormon theology. I don’t believe the Book of Mormon is “another testament of Jesus Christ.” I believe the Bible is the only testament of Jesus Christ.

I have a confession to make. I’ve been judgmental. I’ve hosted a link-up on my blog for the past two weeks.  Both weeks I have had someone link-up who is Mormon. The first week, I didn’t leave a comment on her blog because I wasn’t quite sure what to say.  Should I point out I don’t agree with her or should I keep that to myself?  But, in the process of avoiding her and not leaving a comment on her post, I silently and subtly judged and condemned this stranger for her beliefs.

The second week, she linked up again. I felt bad about how my heart secretly responded the first week.  So, I left a comment on her post this week.  I thanked her for linking up and told her that I although I don’t agree with the Mormon theology, I DO agree that Jesus Christ is the one and only way.

You might think this post is going to be about trying to persuade you to believe that my theology is correct and the Mormon doctrine is false. It’s not. This post is about how unflattering my heart responded when my theology collided with what I hold to be false doctrine.  My heart hardened up and I quickly judged.

Folks, that’s wrong.

This experience reminded me that my heart is still in desperate need of God’s grace and forgiveness every single day. Yes, I should stand by my convictions.  Yes, I should stand up for what I believe to be the Truth.  But, it should be done with the utmost love and respect.

We can’t allow our hearts to go into attack or judgement mode against those whose views we find false.  We need to love them despite the differences.  We need to allow Jesus to do the work.

And, what we might discover in the process is that Jesus is really working on us just as much as He is working on them.

As I was writing this post a book I read recently by Carl Medearis came to mind.  In his book he talks about how one of our biggest issues is having an us (those who agree with our point of view) versus them (those who don’t agree with our point of view) mentality.  This mentality causes us (sometimes unconsciously) to have a superiority complex.  What He recommends instead is to strive for establishing relationships that point to Jesus.

“Too often I try to win allies to my point of view rather than pointing them to Jesus.”  ~ Carl Medearis, Speaking of Jesus

Point people to Jesus.

I want to strive for this too.

What about you?   How do you respond when you come face to face with those whose doctrine is not the same as yours?

How do you stand by a deeply held conviction without being intolerant and unloving?

Do you confront others with differing beliefs or do you avoid them in an effort to keep the peace?

I don’t have any easy answers or solutions.  I would love to hear your thoughts.

 

27 thoughts on “Point to Love

  1. Julie (@InciteFaith)

    Eileen,

    I love this post and has definitely challenged my thoughts this morning. Ironically enough I had a friend throughout my last two semesters of college who is Mormon. I learned a lot from him and in turn he made me want to learn more about God and faith.Though I was in disagreement with his beliefs and he tried to force his beliefs on me, I still respect him.

    This was hard at first because their doctrine isn’t one I am accustomed to. Yesterday while I was ironing (random, I know), I started thinking about something. No one’s religion is wrong and we shouldn’t judge them for it. If we’re all walking in the same direction towards Christ in the light of love, there’s nothing wrong with that.

    Sadly, the latter is not what we see often. We continuously tear others down for their beliefs and think we’re more right than they are. But we’re not. Having differences of beliefs has forced me to look deeper into the Word of God – into the heart of His truth. I wouldn’t change that.

    I love being challenged because I know where I stand. You’re right Eileen, it should all point to love – it should all point to Jesus.

    I pray we’ll all get there.

    Reply
    1. Eileen Post author

      Great thoughts, Julie. I had several friends in high school who were Mormon too. We were friends despite our differences in views. I still desire that.

      Reply
  2. Allen

    I greatly appreciate you writing this post. Too often christians go for the us vs them. Crusades are mounted against gays. I don’t want anything to do with the liar and theif in our office. Where is that scriptural? Jesus hung out with prostitutes, liars, and tax collectors. He didn’t condemn them. He loved them. John 3:17 says that he didn’t come to condemn the world but that the world thru him might be saved. So if Jesus didn’t come to condemn them, why should we? Do we think he didn’t do a good enough job so we have to pick up his slack? I fight this urge everyday. We are called to love. Anytime we try to leverage anything but love, we fail.

    -Peace
    Allen

    Reply
    1. Eileen Post author

      Thank you, Allen. Very well said. As I was writing this post I thought about how often my heart seems to be walking a fine line. How do you stand up for your convictions without coming across as judgmental? Just because we are convicted about something doesn’t mean we are close minded. We can hold tight to what we believe and still remain loving…that’s what we are called to do.

      Reply
  3. Anne

    Eileen, again you have filled in the pieces that I’ve been looking for in my endless search. I’ve always felt that it’s not my place to judge others’ beliefs. Because of that, I’ve also felt conflict because their beliefs were not the truth that I feel in my soul and I didn’t “call them out.” I also felt guilt that I don’t “call out” others who criticize non-Christians, even though I cringe at their judgemental attitudes. Thanks for waking up the points that LOVE and RESPECT should always be at the forefront.

    Reply
    1. Eileen Post author

      We are on the same page, Anne. I have this same battle going on in my own soul. You’ve explained it so well.

      Reply
  4. bill (cycleguy)

    I will be honest Eileen. I have mixed emotions. I know John 14:6. there is no compromise in that. I do agree with Allen. I will also add that we should be known for what we are for than for what we are against. And I totally…totally…agree that we should be pointing to Jesus. None other. That is where my struggle comes in. What about when an aberrational view of Jesus is put out there (I will refrain from names since I am sure you know who I mean)? Are we to just stand by? I don’t mean to dump a load of water on things, but where is discernment necessary? I am not talking about being mean or spiteful or hateful. Please feel free to comment and i will try to come back to this discussion. I hope you know my heart by now.

    Reply
    1. Eileen Post author

      Thank you for your input, Bill! It’s nice to have a pastor’s view point. I think you said this so well…”I will also add that we should be known for what we are for than for what we are against.” I think this is why I don’t usually speak up against a bunch of issues because it’s hard for me to speak up against without coming across as judgmental. I want to focus on the solution not the things that tear us apart. Thanks again, Bill

      Reply
  5. Andi

    Thanks for this honestly, Eileen. Two things I’ve learned to say in life often:

    I may be wrong. . . . and this applies to everything, even my most heartfelt and reasoned beliefs about faith and God.

    And no one deserves my judgment because, well, I may be wrong.

    Thanks again for this; it reminded me of one of my mom’s favorite C.S. Lewis quotes – We pray not so that God may change other people but so that God may change us. (In paraphrase.)

    Reply
  6. Just Pause or Jennimar144

    I have run into this same issue. For me, it’s with certain denominations of Christianity. There are clear doctrinal differences and some of them I find to be offensive. Yet, I see them having a love for Christ in the midst of these heresies. How can this be? Then the Lord will show me my own blindspot, a log if you will, and how I’m still loving him to the best of my knowledge and ability. When that revelation moment comes, all I can say is ‘duh’. I should’ve known prayer was the answer, but was too busy questioning their love for Christ instead of my own. So, I’ve learned a few things from these experiences: 1. Other’s blindspots are good indicators of my own. 2. I can always pray for them and me, that Christ’s love would abound between us. 3. I can ask Him for what is lacking: His timing, His love, His grace, etc.

    There have been times when He opened communication to share the truth, but more often He reminds me of His ability to change things without me saying a word. Guess you could say that whether we are led to remain silent or to speak, it becomes confidence in Him to do both. Let everything we do be done in faith (Romans 14:23)… right? Go ahead and add ‘faith’ to #3, above.

    Reply
  7. Debra

    I so love to read your blog while I enjoy my coffee in the morning Eileen. This mornings is an interesting on because I had a dream last night about not being able to win, lead or show others who Jesus was and that He cared for each one of us. Whether I lost the chance or not I don’t know I woke up too soon. Then I read your blog which was right along the same lines. But what got my attention was the subject of the book of Mormon, My mom was baptized as a Mormon
    (she invited me thinking I would enjoy it) When she went under I cried not because she was baptized but she was baptized Mormon.. When a member of the church asked why I was crying I said because ” we lost another one” and when we discussed the book of Mormon I told her that The bible was the one and only book God had ever or Will ever write. And she just said ” well maybe He forgot to include something” Friends God doesn’t forget .

    Sorry, Just had to comment, it was interesting about the Dream of not being able to win one or the sadness of losing one and then your post of this woman, either it was meant for me or a heads up about your post. Either way we must always work to trust God lean on Jesus and ask for help when we need it.

    Reply
    1. Eileen Post author

      Debra, I am so glad my blog goes well with coffee! Thanks. I keep thinking back to what Bill said a few comments back. We need to focus our efforts on being known for what we are rather than what we are against. I want to reflect grace and love in my interactions. I don’t want to be known for intolerance and judgment.

      Reply
  8. Chelle

    What a fascinating discussion, and what courage for taking it on. I love the question, “How do you respond when you come face to face with those whose doctrine is not the same as yours?” Christians must stand for something, or as the saying goes, we’ll fall for anything. I don’t disagree. However, my prayer (for me, and for us all) is that our memories would be long for what we receive (Grace) and short for what we give (judgment, condemnation). It’s not easy, but we should remembering that we Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven; saved by Grace. And since God saw beyond our faults to meet our needs, shouldn’t we be sharing that same Grace?
    I applaud your honesty and your conviction. Amen.
    Peace and good to you. Glad I found you through Beholding Glory. I’ll be back.

    Reply
    1. Eileen Post author

      Thank you Chelle for coming by and for your words. “our memories would be long for what we receive (Grace) and short for what we give (judgment, condemnation).” I LIKE that!

      Reply
  9. Heidi

    I agree, this is such a tough issue. I thought what you commented yesterday on that blog was perfectly said. I confess: I went there and did not know what to say… I went away with the same thoughts you did. I’m a peacemaker and despise conflict… not that that is right… Jesus certainly dealt with conflict, but in my self-protective (wimpy:) nature it was much easier for me not to comment. I don’t think I judged this person as much as it just saddened me that they are lost. Great, honest post… thanks Eileen!

    Reply
    1. Eileen Post author

      “but in my self-protective (wimpy:) nature it was much easier for me not to comment.” Oh, me too, Heidi! Thank you for your input.

      Reply
  10. Cheryl Smith

    Jesus never used the law to make disciples, even though he knew the law. He was the fulfillment of the law. Instead, he called them into relationship. May we all learn to follow his example.

    Thanks for giving space here for the conversation, for wrestling with your own heart and for being vulnerable about it in the process.

    Reply
    1. Caroline

      This is really well-said, Cheryl: “Jesus never used the law to make disciples, even though he knew the law. He was the fulfillment of the law. Instead, he called them into relationship. May we all learn to follow his example.” Thank you for that reminder.

      Reply
  11. Kirsten LaBlanc

    This is something I really struggle with. I generally believe that I am an accepting person but faith is different for some reason. It’s not all non- Lutheran theologies. It’s Mormonism for me as well. I’m deeply ashamed of this. My reactions/ thoughts are not Christian in the least. I do need to leave it to God & accept people as my brothers and sisters regardless of religion.

    Reply
    1. Eileen Post author

      Kirsten, thank you for your honesty. I think so many of us, if we’re honest, have a problem with judging others. I think recognizing and admitting we have a tendency to do this is huge. God can do amazing things with hearts that acknowledge that they need His help.

      Reply
  12. Caroline

    Eileen, tough subject. But important. I’m like several others mentioned here… I’m unsure what to say, but want to remain loving. With certain people, I come across as judgmental when I speak to them about disagreements. But with others, I may not speak up enough.

    I just want to show Him, not my mistakes in reacting to others. I feel like it’s hard to know how to do that in some situations… but am I making it harder than it really is?

    Reply

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