Berean cogitations

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

When Christians become weird in their zeal

I have a lot of respect for Christians who are bold and zealous in proclaiming their faith. I have sometimes wished that I had both their boldness and their passion in proclaiming the Good News to a dying generation. There are times when Christians can let their zeal overwhelm them to the point that it becomes counterproductive, though.

Back in my high school days, for example,I knew one believer who tried to inject Jesus into virtually every conversation. I remember sitting around with some non-believers, and the conversation turned to a female classmate and her latest boyfriend. He quickly interject, "Yeah, she's worldly. She jumps from one boyfriend to another, and that's not what Jesus would want." Now, I don't object when somebody brings Christ into a conversation; however, bringing him up so abruptly -- especially in a conversation with non-believers -- can tend to be off-putting. Moreover, this sort of thing happened all the time, to the point where I often wondered if he could ever have a relaxed, ordinary conversation about non-spiritual matters for a change.

Here's another example. I once encountered a fella who wore Christian t-shirts to work everyday. Every day, his shirt proclaimed some sort of evangelistic message. Now, I have no doubt that he was motivated by a sincere and passionate desire to warn people about the dangers of hell; however, I do question the wisdom of this method. I wholeheartedly believe that Christians should have passion and zeal; however, I doubt that many people would respond positively to this approach. Don't get me wrong; I think that Christian t-shirts can be wonderful evangelistic tools (I'm wearing one right now). However, when somebody wears these shirts every single day, I don't think people will respond by saying, "This man really loves the Lord!" No, they'd probably be thinking, "Boy, this guy has really gone off the deep end."

I hope that everyone who's reading this message understands what I'm saying. We need to have zeal, but we mustn't come across as being so heavenly minded that we're no worldly good. We must not act as though we belong to the world; however, we must also make it clear that we are normal, everyday folks who take our faith seriously and who choose to love, serve, and obey our heavenly master. I think that's a fair and reasonable balance to strike.