Unfortunately, there have been more than enough judgmental and grim religious people over the years to keep this old stereotype alive. We all probably can think of some relatives who constantly complained about the people who were drinking and carousing and living in sin. It’s almost as if Aunt Gertrude or Uncle Caleb were secretly jealous that other people were having so much carefree fun.
If you don’t believe me, just watch the news. Now, please be aware, the media always portrays religious people in a bad light. If you watch TV, you certainly will see plenty of church folks depicted as ignorant and intolerant yahoos. That just goes with the territory. But look closely. These days, which group of people is REALLY angry? Who is vandalizing churches and pregnancy care centers? Who is screaming and throwing temper tantrums in front of the Supreme Court building? Who is smashing windows and splashing paint on priceless artwork? Who is blocking traffic and trying to get someone fired for using the wrong pronouns? It is none other than the so-called liberated secular people. It’s the folks who claim to have broken free from the repressive shackles of organized religion, which makes them the epitome of peace and tolerance.
Except…. they don’t seem all that peaceful and tolerant these days. In fact, I’d say the old stereotype about moralizing nags now applies to them way more than it applies to church-going folks.
So, at this crossroads in history, it is more important than ever that people of faith show the world that trusting in God really fills a person with joy and contentment, hope and love.
When our daily lives exude peace and forgiveness, despite all the chaos and anger in our modern world, people will become curious. They’ll wonder why we’re so calm in the midst of a cultural storm. This gives us the perfect opportunity to say, “It’s my faith in God. He comforts me.”
We also need to follow another important teaching from Jesus. The Lord said, “Pray for those who persecute you.” It’s impossible to be loving and patient with someone who is verbally – or nowadays, physically – attacking you. That is, it’s impossible without supernatural assistance. But if we remember that every single person – even the purple-haired harridan throwing a brick through a church window – has been created by God and is loved very much by Him, we can genuinely care for that person’s troubled soul. We can then sincerely pray for God Almighty to bless and transform that person.
Things have changed a full 180 degrees in the past couple of generations. It is now the angry secularists who have “the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.”
Therefore, it’s our duty to demonstrate that faith in God can transform a person’s life. We need to show the world that the old stereotype has flip-flopped. It is now believers in the Lord who are having carefree fun.