The notification of a photo message was intriguing. Surprised by something they’d seen, my friend thought to share it with me.
The image showed a screenshot of information shared in a social media space. Initially, it looked like advertising for the Mobile ABC Christian Store and its Winnipeg stop. I kept reading.
In addition to the advertisement, the image of the store had a warning attached.
Because of what Adventists believe, some potential customers may be concerned about supporting the organization with their money. The post wasn’t negative; Adventism was not bashed. The particular belief that was referenced is Biblically-rooted.
Two thoughts immediately came to mind after staring at the photo for some time.
1) We must be firmly rooted in what we believe.
Christians have earned colorful reputations because of their beliefs. Some are rooted in the Bible. God has clearly shown us how to live and how to love in specific areas. But there are also Christians that have adopted beliefs because they sound good. Some ideas are convenient to their lifestyle and for their churchgoers. Better still—that’s the way they were raised, the way that is familiar to them. And because leadership has never contested it or attempted to change things, those beliefs have eventually grown makeshift roots themselves.
2) Everyone will not agree with your beliefs.
One of the most beautiful and riskiest parts of God’s character is that He gives us freedom of choice. His Word is clear on many things. When we ask Him to guide us, God will show us why these standards are valuable to Him. Though we may believe something, our neighbor might not. And there are those who will flat out refuse to share certain beliefs because it makes absolutely no sense to them. There are those who do not know God, who have no understanding of His love and His desire for our good. Many beliefs, even when rooted in truth, will sound foreign to those who do not know God.
Where Christians continuously struggle is with love. We have not learned to love each other well. It’s possible to love someone, even though they don’t know God. It’s possible to show kindness to those who choose to live differently than us. A question to our beliefs is a question about how God works, not a personal attack on us. We do not have to view every question or challenge to our beliefs as the opportunity to convert people to become followers of God.
If you’re planning to visit or shop at the ABC Christian Store when they come, can we try something? First, let’s pray earnestly for the store and its staff. We often hear of the mechanical issues they face, but there can also be peaceful opposition in some of their locations. God is bigger than all of that!
Can we also commit to being the kindest, most pleasant people that other shoppers encounter? The only thing we know about them is that God loves them fiercely. Let’s be their introduction to God.
Written by Sabrina Jacques-Rowe
Henderson Highway Church