“What is your measure of success?”
“How do you feel fulfilled?”
“What is your goal in life?”
We seem to live by these questions. They form our plans, our future, and our identities.
The first questions we ask new people are about jobs, marriage, kids…we try to find common ground with new people, but we also want to know how much further on the ladder they are than we are in that moment.
We ask people these questions and we hold our breath, waiting to see how we compare – how similar they are to us, how far above us, or how much lower.
We could shift this thinking and say we just need to ask what they believe. That’s what we do well in the modern-day Evangelical church – we classify, categorize, compare, and criticize others so we know how to interact with them.
Sometimes, we even ask the questions and pretend like we don’t care that they are on the opposite end of the spiritual gifts spectrum, or that you were raised overseas, or that you don’t raise your hands in worship.
But that still makes us wrong. Why?
Because we still asked the questions, and then acted like the answer didn’t matter.
But it does matter.
Just not in the ways we think it matters.
Let’s begin by thinking not about how people may or may not be similar to us. Let’s ask the question with their spiritual future in mind. The answer to those standard rote questions do matter.
The answers tell us what part of life this person may be in, and it gives us an opportunity to ask how to serve them. It lets us step aside and let God whisper in our ear how to love them. How to give them Jesus.
Because that’s what they really need.
We don’t need to know if someone is married or single, straight or gay, homeless or wealth, feminist or biblical literalist, works-based or faith-based. We don’t need to know if they agree with your vote for president, or prioritize environment over equal rights, or even if they love Jesus.
We need to know that they are a sinner in need of grace, because that’s what Calvary is about.
Let’s stop asking to categorize. Stop asking to stigmatize. Stop asking so we can fix their sins.
Let’s ask so we can serve them. So we can love them. So we can give them Jesus regardless of what they believe, or how they worship, or what they look like.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic – please share your ideas and practical strategies for living out this kind of love-centered, Christ-offering love to everyone we meet on social media or in a comment below!