I used to have a very good friend who was (and still is, I’m sure) a very stubborn and outspoken Atheist. It began with a growing dislike of organized religion and by the time he was halfway through high school, he had denounced the existence of God altogether.
During the last few years of our friendship (we have since grown apart, but for unrelated reasons) we had some heated and repetitive arguments about spirituality. From our arguments, which were sometimes more educated than others, I learned a great deal about Christianity. More so, even, than I think I’ve learned from fellow Christians.
This friend of mine was an admirable member of the community in which he lived. He volunteered his time to the less unfortunate, and rallied for the causes he thought important. He was involved in school in all the most important ways. He was one of the best gift givers I knew, and also one of the best listeners. His friends and his family always came first, no matter what he had on his plate. He was, in every sense of the word, a “Christian”. No one, without talking to him, would have guessed that he didn’t believe in God. He gave and gave and gave of himself to the less fortunate, and he loved them more than I knew it was possible for a person to love strangers.
I was curious about his drive to love others, and so one day I asked him why he continued to give of himself so much when he didn’t even believe in God.
He, in turn, asked me why he needed God to tell him to love others in order to truly love them. Why did he need to carry out acts of kindness only because he was trying to obey some higher being?
It was a good question, and one that he backed up with the following statement: “You Christians believe that, for all of your good deeds on earth, you are building up a life for yourself in heaven. The nicer you are to everyone else, the bigger your house will be when you die. I don’t need an ulterior motive to love the people I’m stuck here with. We’re all in this together, and I want to do whatever I can do to ease the pain other people have.”
I think he was generalizing, yes, but I think there is something crucial in what he was saying. Many Christians do missionary work and do volunteer services because they think it is a way of tithing, and of giving of themselves in a way that is pleasing to God. They are obeying the commands to love others as Jesus loves them, but they are not always fueled with a deep love for what it is they are doing.
God loves each and every one of us more than we can imagine, and we should be burning with such a love for Him that all we want to do is be there for those whom he cares for. Obedience is important, but it isn’t all there is.
I was talking on the phone with my boyfriend today, and we were discussing what Christians have to do in order to bring about earth shattering revivals of faith. It was an interesting conversation, and one that brought about the conversation I had had with my Atheist friend all those years ago. We discussed obedience, and about the motivation behind acts of Christianity.
The question that arose was this: If tomorrow Jesus appeared before you and told you that no matter what you did from here on out you would be going to hell when you died, would you continue to love others the way Jesus calls us to love them?
Would you be so in love and in awe of God that even if you were forsaken, you would continue to strive for Him and to try and show His glory to those around you?
My old friend, the Atheist, believes that when he dies his body will rot under the ground. He doesn’t believe there is anything else. And yet he loves stronger and harder than most people I know, and I’m sure beyond a doubt that he will continue to give of himself until the day he dies.
— Come What May
After hunting literally everywhere, I finally get to watch it.
Luckily I have the greatest boyfriend in the world who doesn’t share my same irrational mistrust of online shopping.
I’m so excited. This movie is definitely one of my all-time favorites.