Yes, I am a Christian.
No, I was not brainwashed.
A common misconception about Christianity is that Christians are members of a cult who have been brainwashed into believing in the gospel by the generations that came before them. As a Christian, I can testify this ideology to be false, as I made the decision to follow Christ on my own at the age of eight. Naysayers may be thinking, “well, I’ve heard of people getting beat with the Bible if they chose not to believe,” or, “my parents kicked me out of the house because I don’t agree with their Christian beliefs.” To that, I have one thing to say: people who actually do force the gospel on others and give them the ultimatum to either believe or be hated are NOT true followers of Christ, and therefore are a false representation of what the gospel truly is. The gospel doesn’t call us to “brainwash”. The gospel calls us to be servants of Christ.
It’s Their Choice to Believe, Not Ours to Make For Them
“But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.”
-2 Timothy 2:23-26
If you have a close relationship with someone who confesses to you that they do not believe in salvation through Jesus Christ, it can be difficult to accept their decision. You will want to try your best to convince them that they are wrong for rejecting Christ. You may get offended when they make fun of your belief in God. You may get angry if they decide to argue against the fact that God exists. Nevertheless, under the circumstances, it is imperative that you keep your composure.
Let’s refer back to the verse above:
“A servant of the Lord must not quarrel, but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition…”
If we want to make a difference in the life of a non-believer, let’s start by planting a seed of God in them by mirroring the actions of Jesus instead of letting Satan rile us up. When a non-believer sees a Christian become irate if someone doesn’t agree with them, it reinforces the stereotype that Christians like to beat the gospel into one another; however, if a non-believer is offered the gospel in a respectful way, they will notice the light of Christ in the believer, and the seed may be watered.
“…if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.“
When you’re gardening, if you go through all of the motions to plant a seed and then snatch it back out of the ground seconds later, there is absolutely no chance of you reaping a crop. The seed has been forced away from its decision to either produce a crop or remain dormant, which has rendered it dormant forever. Conversely, if you take the time to properly plant the seed, water it, tend to it, care for it, then you at least have a chance of garnering something from it later. Of course, the seed still has a possibility of remaining dormant, but at least you’ve provided it with the opportunity to accept life if it so chooses.
*Cough* The same thing applies to spreading the gospel!!!! *Cough*
If the plant is to grow, it will grow under the right conditions, i.e. God allowing someone to come to their senses about Him. On the other hand, some seeds will remain seeds forever. Some plants won’t grow; that’s just a fact of life.
“But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.”
-2 Corinthians 4:3-4
As Christians, we are called to minister to those who are lost. By answering this call of duty, we have to realize that we are not called to force this belief on non-believers by attacking their beliefs, growing angry with them, or showing hatred towards them. When I was little, I remember watching a cartoon that stated that plants need sunshine, water, and love in order to grow. Nowhere in that equation does it say that we need to beat non-believers with the Bible in order to get them to believe in God. Instead, let’s use love, and hope that God will see fit to provide the sunshine and water for the non-believer to be able to grow in their belief in Him.
Goodnight, and God bless!
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