In our Untangled feature, we answer questions posed to us from our readers. Today’s submission comes from Jon:
Throughout my short life, I have come across a small amount of “devoted Christians.” An amount so small, in fact, I can count them with one hand. I have my own belief why this is so: God would not place every light in a single location, as no light would shine in a place it is needed. As Christians, I believe we would be “the light”, though it does… ‘irk’ me, sometimes, to see how the people with the best morals around me are partying every weekend (meaning getting drunk and/or arrested for public intoxication, or for drug use). Here is my question: I have my own belief as to what it is, but why does God not place a few more lights around each other, to provide some form of support? Why is it that the only devoted Christians I find are online and not in my actual, immediate life?
Thank you for coming to us for a response, Jon! Your situation isn’t a unique one, but your response is definitely a little different, and gave me food for thought. I certainly believe that God moves us to different places often to shine his light in the dark – I definitely agree with you there.
You also bring up that interesting idea that you’ve found more devoted Christians online than in real life. Online interaction is amazing, of course – when we might be sinking into mire because we’re stuck where we are, the online medium has given us an opportunity to develop meaningful relationships we couldn’t otherwise have. I think most of us under a certain age could list a number of intimate friends with whom we’ve never interacted with in a physical setting. Christianity is no different – believers online can encourage and strengthen one another, which is especially vital if individuals are in places where the believers aren’t seeking to live Christ-centered lives.
The hypocrisy of Christians has also been a problem – we see it continually in scripture right up through today. And can I say it irks me when I see Christians in America doing very unloving things while saying their faith is most important to them, when it’s actually the “moral values” they grew up with, rather than he gospel message, that take prime importance; otherwise, they would be devoted to showering love and the message of Christ upon others.
Still, there thriving communities of devoted Christians are out there. I’ve been a part of a number of wonderful churches here in my city, plugging into small groups full of people being transformed by the gospel message, living out loving lives and caring for those around them. The Christians are out there, and sometimes in large numbers (as they need to be to impact cities or other large groups of people). It might be that you just haven’t found a strong community where you are. Maybe, hopefully, you’ll find a more steadfast group of believers in RL to mutually encourage, one that you can push to grow and that will push back, as iron sharpens iron. And if not, I pray that the online group of Christians you know can function in that manner for you, for it sounds as if you may be where you for a reason – a missionary, of sorts, in a field that needs the grace of God.