By Miranda Ebersole
Christians are not called by God to be bullies but rather ministers in love, the Rev. Robert Glen of Bethel United Methodist Church said Nov. 7.
“Trying to force your beliefs on others just turns them away from the kingdom of God,” Glen said.
Eleven people attended Glen’s speech “Loving the Non-Religious Without Being Christian Bullies,” the eighth speech in the semester-long Hot Potato lecture series at the Methodist Student Center.
He defined being a bully as someone who has a domineering attitude and uses intimidation to manipulate people.
One of the key points of his speech was that Christians should strive to follow Jesus’ example.
“You will not see in Jesus’ ministry him being a Christian bully,” Glen said.
Instead, Jesus had compassion for people, even toward those who opposed him, Glen said.
“Being obedient to the Holy Spirit will enable you to live your life in a Christlike manner,” he said.
The correct way of telling other people about personal beliefs is simply by stating the beliefs and respecting other people’s right to disagree and hold their own opinions, Glen said.
Also, stating a personal belief to another Christian needs to be done in love, he said.
Many people need to realize that the Christian life is a journey and that “not all Christians are in the same place at the same time,” he said.
When people become Christians, they are often under the false pretense that their lives will immediately improve and that there will be no more problems.
After a few months, they get discouraged because life is still difficult, Glen said.
Also, when witnessing to people who do not share an individual’s personal belief, it is extremely important to give that person some space, he said.
Talking loudly about personal beliefs when the other person does not want to hear it is being a Christian bully, he said.
One of the biggest instances of Christian bullying occurs at the pulpits of far too many churches, Glen said.
This bullying takes place when a preacher tells people that “if they don’t change their behavior, they are going to die and go to hell,” he said.
Christians need to develop a different attitude toward people and learn to live with compassion, Glen said.