Allow the people around you to be themselves. Your faith shouldn’t be used as a weapon. For as long as I could remember I’ve always loved Jesus with all my heart. Growing up my mom would sing worship songs to my sister and I before bed. Sometimes my dad would join but it was mostly just my mom and older sister at the time (my parents have since had a ton more kids lol). My favorite song was Jesus loves me. This song espouses the love of Christ. I was only 3 but I remember how warm and secure the words would make me feel. I was a sad child naturally. I walked around with a sad and anxious disposition. It felt as if I was born sad, yet somehow when my mom would sing this song to me it would stir something inside of me. I knew beyond a doubt that He was real and that His love for me was the truest thing in the world. In that moment while singing, my sadness would cease albeit temporarily.
As I grew into an adolescent my fervor for my faith would spark me to judge others and try to “correct” them or get them to see life the way I did –to see God the way I did. I would confront my peers on the playground about their religious beliefs and mock them for thinking less of Christ than they should. In my teen years I would of course sin but when my friends sinned differently or were “too flagrant” with it I would admonish them and judge them openly. The more I judged others the less satisfied I was with myself and the less secure I was in my relationship with God. I couldn’t shake sin and I seemed to be relying on my own self-will to do it. When I noticed others sinning happily, openly, freely –it frustrated me because here I was trying to be perfect and it wasn’t working while others were merrily going about life.
The Bible says that salvation is a GIFT that NO ONE can brag about (Ephesians 2:9). Freely given to us by the giver of all good things. A gift is something someone receives through no self-effort. Think of the last time you gave someone a gift. You likely perused Amazon reading reviews and making sure the item was Prime eligible. Did you call up the recipient--let’s call her grandma-- and ask her to use her debit card to complete the purchase? No! That would be crazy –it’s a gift. It’s the same way with salvation: Christ gifts salvation to us. We did nothing to receive it. Our only requirement is to accept this precious gift. Accepting it means we don’t try to pay for it after the fact. It also means we don’t take credit for it and wield it against folks as a sort of measuring stick for behavior.
We’re all on individual journeys in life. Your journey will not look like the next person’s. If your desire is for a person in your life to receive the gift of salvation then show them the beauty, power and freedom inherent in the faith. Do that by being you! Your loving, fun, sweet, kind, generous self or whatever it is that your personality is. FREELY be YOURSELF and share your love for Christ in an organic way. Not a rigid “my way or the highway” stance. This allows people to grow in relationship with you and share their authentic selves without fear. You can’t win anyone over using scare tactics or self-righteousness. The Bible says that it is KINDNESS and PATIENCE that leads to repentance (Romans 2:4). That means being kind and gracious towards yourself as well. These are the virtues that usher in real change. Be like your father in heaven, be kind and patient sis.
Moreover, there are some people who you ultimately will not be able to influence in that way and that's OK! We are called to love not convert. We are not the Holy Spirit. Take the pressure off your shoulders and the measuring stick out of your hand. Remember, it is CHRIST that starts the work of faith and it is He that completes it (Philippians 1:6).