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Friends and Faith: Crossing the Divide

Self | Attie Murphy | 7 mins

What is the most valuable belief you hold? For me, my most important belief is my faith in God and the salvation I have through Jesus. I know that my faith is the core of my life, yet sometimes it feels easier to fit it in a box instead of bringing vulnerability into my comfort zones. When I share my beliefs with someone, I know that I risk rejection, judgment, or facing my own doubts. Plus, to share, I need to invite people into my life even if they disagree with my fundamental views. When I do share my faith, people respond with things like, "But you don't really believe in sin, right?" or "How do you feel about [insert political issue]?" or "I respect your beliefs but I've never experienced God and I know He's not real." And in the moment, it's hard to have the words to explain my beliefs without making it all about me. All too often, I'll look back at an opportunity for conversation and realize I could have opened a door if I had only asked and listened more.

It's easy to fall into the "inside" or the "outside." The inside is our safe bubble where we only spend time with those who share our beliefs, so we don't feel any threat to our resolve. The outside is where we go about our lives and save the "Jesus talk" for Sunday. I’ve spent periods on both sides, and in my experience, the reason for this divide is usually the misunderstanding of the verse, "bad company corrupts good character." When I spent time around church people who scrunched up their noses at "outsiders," I was tempted to create a double life from my life with God. That way, I could be a "good Christian" when I was with God and also connect with people without judging them. But along the way, I learned that God doesn't tell us to pretend to be perfect; He tells us to be the light of the world by loving people. God is in every part of our lives, and He wants us to reach out to people who don't know Him. We don't have to act with a Bible-in-hand missionary mindset; we do it through relationships.

There are times when I've chosen sin over faith, and I know I need time with God to stay strong in His Word. I also know that no matter how much I do what God says, I will never reach others through self-righteousness. How do I know? Because I find myself resenting the people who flaunt "perfection" in the name of Christianity. The people I want to be associated with are those who share their struggles and are willing to get gritty to help others. And the more I learn about Jesus, the more I see that He gained followers because He was with people, not because they earned His attention.

Here are a few examples that I find inspiring, and I hope will encourage you in sharing your faith:

Jesus showed people that they mattered. Jesus invited himself to dine with Zaccheus, a tax collector, in a time when tax collectors were viewed as corrupt traitors. Jesus also ate with many other tax collectors and sinners. He made people feel welcome and at ease. This is where we should start with any relationship or acquaintance. When people know that we value their time and company, it will reap openness to deeper conversation. Just because someone turns down your invitation to Bible study doesn’t mean you can’t go to their house for game night. People like to feel important even in small ways and will respect your perspective when you are attentive toward them.

Jesus was truthful, not condescending. There were plenty of times when Jesus spoke bluntly to those criticizing Him, but He never treated any person as unforgivable. Jesus told the truth of God's calling, and He made it clear that we are all equally in need of His grace. Jesus was perfect and yet He didn't treat anyone as "less than" for their ignorance. So as flawed humans, why do we think we should look down on each other? Rather than pointing out the sins of others, maybe a better approach is to share the mistakes we've made and the ways that Jesus has brought us new hope. Story-telling might feel vulnerable, but you will change lives by being the real you.

Jesus was, and is, a good friend. Jesus shows us what it means to serve, listen, and give. He did it while He was on earth, and He's still doing it for us now. Jesus prayed for His friends, and He gave His life to give us all hope for the future. Whether it's our best friends, our coworkers, or people we just met, this is how we should care for people. When we cultivate selfless relationships, we influence people through our actions. With patience and willingness, we can create honesty rather than awkwardly forced conversations.

As you soak in these ideas, who is one person you want to reach? Pray about it, and think about how you can invite them to see what Jesus has done in your life. Or maybe that person is you. If you aren't sure what you believe, you may be hesitant to seek answers because that's as risky as sharing them. We invite you to join us at Sun Valley no matter where you are on your faith journey. Feel free to email us any questions you may have!!


Written By

Attie Murphy

An avid writer since the age of 5, who loves to explore new ideas and places. Inspired by Jesus, books, and travel.

Published on Feb 22, 2022