According to Wikipedia there are roughly 4,200 recognized religions in the world. Out of those 4,200 religions, you have approximately 2.2 billion people who claim a single one: Christianity.
As of August 2016 there are an estimated 7.4 billion people living on Earth. Using my amazing math skills, aka a calculator, that means there are 5.2 billion people that have never heard the Gospel or are involved in other religions. These are some amazing numbers!
As Christians, we have to ask ourselves, how do we share the good news of Jesus Christ with these 5.2 billion other people?
Do we carry signs that say things like “God hates America” or “You’re going to hell”? Should we stand on street corners and yell at people telling them how sinful they are? Maybe we should be completely intolerant of everyone that doesn’t believe what we do?
Or we could just do what the Bible tells us to do.
If we look at Luke 10:27 Jesus tells us, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” This is repeated in Mark 12:30-31 and Matthew 22:37-40.
I learned a long time ago that if the Bible repeats itself whatever is being repeated is very important.
Before Jesus was crucified he told his disciples in John 13:34-35, “I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another. By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
1 John 2:9-11 says, “The one who says he is in the light but hates his brother is in the darkness until now. The one who loves his brother remains in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness, walks in the darkness, and doesn’t know where he’s going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.”
You may be thinking this is a whole lot of scripture. It is.
Notice what all these scriptures have in common. The answer is love. We are known by our love. Our love defines us. Love defines our relationship with God. Love defines our relationship with ourselves. Love defines our relationship with other others.
These scriptures tell us to love other. They don’t tell us to be hateful and intolerant of others and their religions. We have to love people no matter what. We cannot hate people and call ourselves Christians.
We have to ask, “Why do we hate?” The answer is fear. We fear things that are different. We fear things we don’t understand.
Yoda was absolutely correct when he said, “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”
Who suffers if I hate someone? I do, I suffer. My relationship with God suffers. My relationship with others. Most of all, my relationship with myself suffers.
Why suffer when you can have forgiveness? We all want forgiveness, mercy, and love.
Let us stop being stubborn and fearful. Let us do our job as Christians and love others no matter what they look like or believe. Fydor Dostoevsky said, “To love someone means to see him as God intended him.” Let us look at others like God looks at them.
We have to be obedient to God’s commands. We must do this.
To quote Yoda once more, “Do or do not. There is no try.”