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Redding, CA

Singer, songwriter, beard grower.

 

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Website and blog for songwriter Matt Stinton.

Investing, or: Why God looks good in a business suit.

Matt Stinton

This is not an article about the stock market so if you're wanting stock tips...I don't really have any to offer so feel free to skip to the next post. What I actually want to talk about is a different sort of investment altogether. 

If someone I've never met walks up to me and tells me I have issues, I'm probably not going to receive it very well or think very highly of that person. They have not been given an invitation to speak into my life nor have they shown me any value as a person. Therefore, they have no right to tell me what I should do. However, if a friend I love and trust tells me I have issues, I'm much more likely to actually listen to them and take their advise. Makes sense, right?

It's funny how we'd say that the first person was rude and out of line for what they said and yet we, as Christians, do that all the time. Traditional evangelism is actually based completely on telling people they have problems. We have really become famous for what we disagree with. If I remember the song correctly, it says they will know we are Christians by our love not our negativity. Why do you think the homosexual community, for example, is often so anti-church? They've been repeatedly told that their lifestyle is wrong by a bunch of strangers who have invested little to no time into them save the time it took to conjure up a condemning comment or two and some insensitive Facebook posts. 

What made Jesus so effective was His willingness to invest into people. In fact, He became very unpopular with the religious crowd because He actually practiced what He preached. He came for the lost and the broken so that's who He spent His time with. He wasn't a political figure, He was a friend of the hurting.

To be honest, I have a big problem with the outspoken nature of some Christians on social media. It's sort of like the internet killed our good manners. People post the nastiest comments without any regard for the effects of their words. Hiding behind a profile photo has made it so there is no accountability for what is said. I just can't help but think this critical spirit is so devoid of the very love that changed our own lives. 

I've heard it said that what brings you into the Kingdom is what will be required to keep you in it. So many people use the fear of punishment or hell as a motivator but if someone comes into the Kingdom because of fear then they've come in without knowing who the King really is. He is depicted more as an angry, vengeful tyrant than as a loving Father. He is not vindictive, He is the perfect embodiment of love. If there is no fear in love then there is no love in fear.

Thankfully, God is a brilliant investor. He has every right to sit up in Heaven and criticize us for everything we're doing incorrectly--the mistake we just made, the relationship we're damaging, the time we're wasting. He is wholly perfect and wise, after all. Fortunately for us, He's also stubbornly loyal and infinitely patient. He knows that if we're going to be changed, that He will need to be continually involved. We need His constant care and attention and He always know just what we need to grow.

One of my favorite things I've ever heard about marriage came from my friend Jeremy. He said, "you love your spouse into who they become" and that's exactly what the Lord does with us. He knows love, not criticism, changes lives. 

Love is the ultimate investment and it is the only thing that can bring true and lasting change. Establishing laws can only attempt to control symptoms but it can never fix the pain that causes them. It is only when we are willing to love as He loved that we will see society transformed.