For the purposes of this blog post, the who and what matter little compared to the how and why, so the person and the conviction shall remain anonymous as I discuss the reaction and reasons.
I recently received a message from a Christian who expressed his heartfelt convictions in his eMail newsletter. I know his heart is in the right place and he is doing all he knows to do to remain in God's will and follow God's leading. Shortly thereafter I began receiving eMails from people I do not know as responses, many asking to be removed from his mailing list, but all containing their reasons behind the request. Some of them even admitted that their reason was so that others would not believe they shared the convictions of the newsletter author. All of them were operating under the same motivation, however, that others would not believe they agreed or are following the heartfelt convictions of this man who is simply doing what he feels God is leading him to do.
How sad it is to think that people who profess faith in Christ are more concerned about the opinions of others on this earth than the opinion of God, Himself! This caused me to reflect on many areas of our daily Christian walk and how many times we may not totally agree with the opinions we're spouting, but are merely ensuring that the majority believe that we agree with them!
I know I have been the source of some consternation among Christian friends and family members because I have expressed opinions that do not align with the majority, or express beliefs that don't wholly conform to the majority. Truth be told, I'm more worried about what God thinks of me and my opinions/beliefs than I am about what others on this earth think.
I do believe the majority of Christians are truly doing the best they can to follow God's Will and plan to the best of their abilities, and I don't cotton to the idea that the majority are motivated by what others think of them when they voice their opinions and beliefs, but there is a sizable crowd out there who are more worried about how others view them than how God views them! And that's not only sad, it has the potential to wreck their eternal standing. I've heard many people talk about how going to church is not about being seen by those who are there, and so on, but how many of us truly do not wholeheartedly believe the standings we express, especially when it comes to the appearance of believing what someone we know and love is saying or doing?
Whether I believe what someone is saying or doing or believing is not up for public viewing or approval in my life. I refuse to disassociate myself from someone because others may believe I think or feel or believe the same things the person does. My life doesn't operate on the opinions of others. For that matter, neither did the life of Christ while He walked this planet! Remember how the scribes and Pharisees accused Jesus of being a sinner and wine bibber because He associated with same?
If I only surround myself with Christians who believe exactly the same way I believe, then whom shall I influence to turn their lives over solidly, completely and unashamedly to Christ? If I never associate with someone who is not a born-again Christian, then with whom am I sharing my salt and His light?