Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2
So I've been thinking about this passage of scripture, and specifically how it relates to a Christian perspective of our world. What does it really mean to be "transformed by the renewing of your mind." I think it probably means that we are different because of our faith - that we do different things, and that we think different things as a result of who we are in Christ. But what does it mean about how we relate to non-Christians?
I have been a Christian for most of my life - at least most of what I can remember. I grew up in the church, and a lot of the people in my life are "church people." In fact, I've had to be pretty intentional about cultivating relationships with people who don't go to church, because it's pretty easy to get wrapped up in the safe-ness of church relationships.
I was involved in a conversation the other day about drinking with one of my "church people" friends. Specifically, the conversation was about whether or not social, or other drinking for that matter, was immoral - even if not illegal. Actually, to be completely honest, the individual I was talking to had a problem with a specific individual that drank alot - but wasn't a Christian.
My "church people" friend - we'll call her "Grace" - believes very strongly that drinking is immoral no matter what. A strong opinion, but certainly one she is entitled to. She further believes that "Ann" (that's what we'll call my "non-churched" friend) is horribly wrong because of her drinking. I'll admit, Ann drinks alot. Grace wants to convince Ann that drinking is wrong, and that it is sinful. The thing is, why does Ann care? Ann doesn't have a relationship with God, and so far, of the people she knows who have relationships with God, at least one of them seems to condem her because of something she doesn't believe is wrong!
I think this is a major problem today with Christians. I have conversations all the time about Abortion, the Death Penalty, Drinking, Drugs, Sex, etc, and usually it involves disgust by Christians at people who "believe differently" and as such behave differently. The problem is, we want people to either behave differently based on what? A God that they don't have a relationship with?
Typically, people's behavior is a result of their thoughts, or their core beliefs. Often, even when someone doesn't "act," they express these thoughts through their words - however we can see a problem here when someone's words don't match their "acts." That's a different conversation though.
Instead of trying to convince someone that any of those things above are "'wrong," wouldn't it be more worth our time to instead introduce our "non-churched" friends to Jesus. Wouldn't it seem that if they had a meaningful relationship with God that they might change their core beliefs, which might in turn change their behaviors?
Of course, this doesn't account for people who believe very strongly in God, but still disagree about certain "hot-topic" issues. I'm not really interested in that right now. My problem is that instead of focusing on the really important thing of introducing people to Jesus, we focus on taking "stands," on things like abortion, drugs, death penalty, etc.
I've yet to hear of anyone who found a relationship with Jesus because of an abortion clinic bombing, or a protest, or because of someone who told them how horrible they are because they drink.
I'm not condoning any of those things, but just saying that maybe we should try to keep the MAIN THING, the main thing.