Helping Others Fit In

Sometimes it is difficult to comprehend how the godless people of this world can be so devoted to their lifestyle, while Christians sometimes have such a careless attitude toward their lifestyle. A person who is persecuting a Christian can seem so committed and so dedicated to doing evil. He spends so much energy hurting the Christian, that it seems the Christian is actually very important to him. The Christian seems to be the center of attention, albeit negative attention. But when the Christian goes to church, he may be disappointed that he is no longer the center of attention. It may seem strange to him if his fellow Christians are not as devoted to helping him as the non Christian is devoted to hurting him.

People who have been abused by others usually get used to being tormented, especially when the abuse starts at an early age. As they become accustomed to demeaning situations, they come to accept negative interaction with other people as being normal and customary. Even if a person has never been abused, but has grown up outside the church, he may be living in an emotional vacuum or in self torment. Or he may think he has achieved happiness through self sufficiency and through his worldly achievements. In any of these cases, he considers his lifestyle without God to be normal.

We are confused when visitors don't just "jump in" and enjoy the Christian fellowship. But we must be caring and non judgmental. We must be patient and supportive. Jesus has been these things to us. We need to be these things to others. Newcomers need time to learn to respond to God's love (shown through us) and to learn to express God's love.

Some people are hesitant to respond to God's love and our Christian fellowship. They may initially respond because your positive attention promises them some hope. But they may falter if you aren't able to give them as much positive attention (to the same degree) as they are accustomed to receiving negative attention. It is at that point you should realize (and point out to them) why your attention is inadequate. You can help them believe that hope exists. But you are not the source of that hope. Jesus is. We all need to look to Jesus for hope in our lives.

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