Tuesday, May 04, 2010

"Preach the Gospel at all times. Use words when necessary."

In my short time as a Catholic, these words have hit home so many times. I read them early, and I've seen them often. Even more, I've realized their truth.

Today, though, I discovered a piece of writing that seeks to refute St. Francis' words. Even if they aren't really from St. Francis, they're powerful words. I think the author of the article was offended that some Catholic dude figured out an effective method of evangelization a thousand years before he did. He also seemed to think insulting St. Francis would be a good headline... how very grown-up of you, Ray Comfort.

Why are words necessary? Why do we have to cram words down people's throats in order to change them? Why do we need to talk at them when we can be working with them?

Without a doubt, the reason Mr. Comfort disputes St. Francis is "works." That's a bad word in the Protestant lexicon to be certain, yet it's exactly what is needed by Christians everywhere. Rather than bashing on those who don't live up to your standards, why not look within and live a better life yourself--and then don't throw stones at others. It doesn't always take words so show a Christian lifestyle.

My parents didn't always instruct me with words on how to behave when I was growing up. They showed me so much by example, and it's those examples that make me want to be better far more than getting slapped on the hand or yelled at or spoken with. It's the walk, not the talk that led me to be who I am.

And it's the manner of the people that I love about Catholicism. Sure, we get preached at in church, but my husband doesn't tell me that I'm going to hell because I looked at him with lust before we were married (yeah, total sinner, my bad). My mother-in-law doesn't scorn me for wearing pants. The Man's family didn't cast him out for marrying a "convert." I never got lectured or reprimanded or anything but welcomed into the Catholic Church.

I'm not trying to put Protestants down at all here, not one bit. My story about Catholics is my experience and opinion (however biased). I am refuting those who who think Bible thumping is the best course of evangelization. It's about as effective as throwing cotton balls gently against a concrete wall to make it crumble.

Use words when necessary, indeed. Use words. Words are tools of communication. There's nothing bad about using words. But rather equipping yourself with a load of words, why not try stocking your shelves with kindness, compassion, and grace. Learn "I'm sorry" first, and then you can work on the Bible thumping.

1 comment:

cm0978 said...

I think people look more at our actions that we think. They notice if you are just talk or if you really live out your convictions.

And I didn't realize that I could have been "scorning" you all this time about wearing pants! Oh wait - that would have been hypocritical of me!