There have been times in my life, especially in college, when I have been driven to near madness trying to explain my beliefs about religion. Trying to answer questions like “how can God let bad things happen to good people” and any other question that is shaded with gray area definitely gets frustrating. My trick is to rely on the Word of God to get through those moments.
One of my favorite books of the New Testament is 1 John. There is just something about the book that hits me so hard when it comes to love and how we need to treat others, even when those other people don’t see eye to eye with us on things.
All you need is love
I really like what The Message translation has to say in 1 John 3:18, "My dear children, let’s not just talk about love; let’s practice real love."
Practicing real love isn’t always an easy task. How are you supposed to show real love to someone who won’t even hear you out? Or to someone who has the complete opposite beliefs as you? Or someone who has nothing but bad things to say about Christianity?
Honestly, I wish I had a more straight-forward answer for this, but the best I can do is to tell you to not lose heart and to remember that God calls us to love. At UNC Chapel Hill, there are Pit Preachers who come and preach the “Word of God” to the students on campus--their self-proclaimed testimonies curse women wearing pants and men wearing pink and condemn all students at liberal arts colleges to hell. Needless to say, this is extreme and the opposite of what I believe God wants us to do to get His message across to others.
There are so many topics that are brought up today on college campuses that Christians may have different opinions on than others (topics like abortion, homosexuality, politics, and many others). It is important to realize that you are entitled to your opinion and everyone else is entitled to his or hers as well--we all have a choice in what it is we want to believe.
Paul gives us a great challenge found in Ephesians 5:2, "Mostly what God does is love. Keep company with Him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of Himself to us. Love like that."
Now go, love like that.