…I was recently asked a question…one that really drives to the heart of what people perceive ‘Religion’ as today.
“Why don’t you convert sinners?”
My answer is thus: it does not fall to the likes of ME to ‘convert’ ANYONE.
Let me clarify…
I would challenge ANY person to show me ONE SINGLE SCRIPTURE that says “Convert others”…or “Belittle and degrade them publicly for NOT converting to this or that church”.
The Word of God is NOT some hammer to pound people with, nor to drag them into some church or building and hammer them there with man made laws and ideology…The Word of God is meant to be spoken of, then meditated on, and if the person feels that it speaks truth to their soul, then it is up to THEM to choose how they will go about converting THEMSELVES.
Let me put it this way: Jesus said SPECIFICALLY what He meant according to preaching His words…
“A farmer went out to sow his seed.
As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds ate it up.
Some fell on rocky ground, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture.
Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants.
Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.”
When he said this, he called out, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”
His disciples asked him what this parable meant.
He said, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that,
“ ‘though seeing, they may not see; though hearing, they may not understand.’
This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God.
Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved.
Those on the rocky ground are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root.
They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away.
The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature.
But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.” – Luke 8:5-15 (NIV)
We are NOT commanded to pound faith into people…we are meant to speak The Word, and let the seed of it germinate in their hearts.
If they accept what we have spoken, what HE said, then it will blossom into fruit…if not, then we can (as His servants) say “I have done what you commanded Lord, but they did not receive it”…and that is not meant in a BAD way, simply that we as His servants tried and failed to sway them from their addictions of this world.
So…what EXACTLY were we, His servants, commanded to do?
“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” – Mark 16:15 (KJV)
So… this is why I do not ‘convert’ or ‘criticize’ or ‘condemn’ another because of their faith…for we were not told to spread RELIGION, we were told to spread FAITH…to be more precise: THE WORD.
Faith comes from inside a person’s soul.
It is the very voice inside of that person saying “this is the path I have chosen to bring you to God”… so how can someone ELSE’S voice be that?
Oh sure, I can preach His word, but if the person will not listen, or will not decide to choose this path, then who am I to force them to do something that contradicts the very word Jesus said for us to do?
Did He not say: “When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’
If someone who promotes peace is there, your peace will rest on them; if not, it will return to you.
Stay there, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house.
“When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is offered to you.
Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’
But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say,
‘Even the dust of your town we wipe from our feet as a warning to you.
Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God has come near.’” – Luke 10:5-11
This is how we will know if His Word, by our recitation of it, has taken ‘root’ or will ‘blossom’ in them…for if we, His servants, feel the same passion…the same joy, and fear…that WE do at His Word, then others too will feel it in our very voices, our very souls….and this will sink in and grow within them.
It is by OUR example that other’s will come to know The Word.
“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.
Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.
This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit.
And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.
If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God.
And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.
This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus.
There is no fear in love.
But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.
The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
We love because he first loved us.
Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.
And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.” – 1 John 4:7-21
So…when other people grow angry at me for not ‘converting’ people, I simply say “Peace be with you” for I know that The Word is not really in their hearts…for if it were, then they too would have read and understood that you cannot force anyone to love God.
The Word…the REAL Word..not some pulpit spouted rhetoric…not some screaming-pew-pounding-jump up and down- type of dogmatic speech is not ‘Hellfire’ and ‘Sinner unclean’ or ‘Save everyone’…for everyone CANNOT be saved. That is just fact. So why grow angry that they will not follow YOUR version of The Path? Have they considered that God has OTHER plans for them?
The very word people of this faith defines themselves as is “Christian”…yet few actually follow what Christ, The Founder of this faith, said or meant.
Were not the Samaritans the “ungodly” of the people of His day? And yet, did not Jesus use them in parables to speak of Mercy, Love, and Forgiveness?
So too others who follow a different path are also on HIS path. When someone asks me “What religion are you?” and I say “Christian” they look confused.
They ask “What church?” and I say “No church…I am a Christian”…I do not follow a Church’s laws..I follow GOD’S laws…CHRIST’S laws…for, in effect, is not a Christian SUPPOSED to follow Christ’s laws before some committee of men’s laws?
This is the difference between religion and faith…
Jesus said “I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.” – Luke 10:16
Have you considered that, although they are NOT of YOUR church, that they ALSO are of His “Flock”?
So consider this when you cannot understand why some do not follow the path you yourself have chosen.
As His servant I simply deliver The Word, hoping it will find root, and praying it will blossom forth….because in the end, it is not ME who must stand before God for THEIR soul…that is in THEIR keeping, and they must do what THEY think is right according to how they feel…but, and I stress this..”But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” – Joshua 24:15