Berean cogitations

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Must people know how much you care before they care how much you know?

Have you ever heard Christians declare, "People won't care how much you know until they know how much you care"? I certainly have. To be perfectly honest though, I disagree.

I hope you understand what I mean. By no means to I suggest that we have no obligation to love our fellow man. I do think that it's overly simplistic to say that we must always convince non-believers of the depth of our love before we can share the Word. That's just an overly broad statement.

The problem with this line is that it SOUNDS so good -- so loving, so wonderful. At best though, it's a severe overstatement.

Consider Jonah, for example. When Yahweh commanded Jonah to preach to the Ninevites, he didn't say, "Oh, but first show them how much you love them. Otherwise, they won't listen." In fact, Jonah did NOT have an abundance of love for the Ninevites. Quite the contrary; he had no desire to see them repent! After finally obeying God's command to preach the Word though, Jonah saw that the Ninevites changed their ways -- and this was without any overt display of love on his part.

In addition, do you remember when Jesus spoke to the Samaritanwoman at the well? Jesus focused on simply declaring the truth. Sure, he spoke kindly, and of course, he also showed love and consideration simply by speaking to a Samaritan woman in public. Still, it seems to me that this single act of kindness is not quite the same as making someone "know how much you care." It's not the same as demonstrating the depths of one's love.

Also, why do people convert to Buddhism, or Wicca, or Satanism. Is it because they're touched by the depth of love that Buddhists, Wiccans, and Satanists have for them? Probably not! By and large, it's because the words of these religions resonate with them -- because they make sense to them. (I'm not endorsing those views, mind you, nor am I suggesting that they're logical. My point is simply that people don't necessarily need to see an outpouring of love before they become receptive to a particular teaching.)