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  • Randi

A Faith That Is Heard

Originally I began to title this post, “A Faith That Does Not Offend,” but quickly realized that was not at all accurate. The gospel is offensive to many, but I believe it wholeheartedly, nonetheless. I instead decided a more accurate title would be, “A Faith That Is Heard.”

Over the last year I have began working very hard at living a life of faith that can be communicated with those on different paths. I want to discuss my beliefs with those of other religions, or those with none at all. But today I read an article, Do We Need A New Bible, and was constantly fighting my urge to be angry. To be angry at those who just don’t get it; how could they speak such blasphemies? But then I was reminded of some wisdom I first understood many years ago when trying to comprehend my parents:

“But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Corinthians 2:14)

With that piece accepted, I could read the article and be enlightened; enlightened to the thoughts of others, and able to test my beliefs against theirs. (Remember what Aristotle said, “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”) There are many who share their beliefs in such a definitive, absolute tone that the pride of the receiver can no longer focus on the discussion at hand. I have been one of those. Honest mistake in many cases, but ineffective.

Living downtown I witness many things, but few of them frustrate me more than my fellow ‘believers’ standing on the street corners yelling at the pedestrians, “Repent or spend eternity in the flaming gates of hell!” Seriously? Now it is not what they share that offends me, but their prideful, misguided way of communicating it. There are times when harshness is necessary, yes; but I know these pedestrians, I know the way these words shut down their hearts and harden it to the truth. It’s not merely my frustration in their “giving Christians a bad name,” but that seeds are wasted.

Let me share a story with you…

“Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.

 Therefore hear the parable of the sower: When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside. But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles. Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”

My story is a parable Jesus shared found in Matthew 13. And whether you believe that Jesus is the Messiah or not, I’d say that’s a pretty accurate depiction. Jesus knew his audience, was mindful of their circumstances, and communicated truth in a way that transformed lives. All this to say, I am working within myself to do the same. Humility is limitless. My King could have rode into Jerusalem on a white stallion, but instead chose a donkey.

“But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty.” (1 Corinthians 1:27)

I choose the donkey too.


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