I just picked up The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns, President of World Vision, a book I carted back from the states with me earlier this summer. (Ahh… the difficulty of finding good books in this place! I love to read, and I’m usually woefully short of reading material. Furthermore, I have to delicately balance my desire for books with my husband’s patience for lugging around baggage crammed with the lead-like tomes. But, I digress.)
Page 18, and I’m already feeling like quoting the guy…
Christianity is a faith that was meant to spread–but not through coercion. God’s love was intended to be demonstrated, not dictated. Our job is not to manipulate or induce others to agree with us or to leave their religion and embrace Christianity. Our charge is to both proclaim and embody the gospel so that others can see, hear, and feel God’s love in tangible ways. When we are living out our faith with integrity and compassion in the world, God can use us to give others a glimpse of His love and character. It is God–not us–who works in the hearts of men and women to forgive and redeem. Coercion is not necessary or even particularly helpful. God is responsible for the harvest–but we must plant, water, and cultivate the seeds.
Amen. We could not agree more.