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Saturday, January 12, 2008

How does your light shine?

"Not trying to be snarky... I'm genuinely curious," wrote a commenter who stumbled on my blog not long ago. "Do you only read Christian authors? It seems so limiting to me... I have spent several minutes reading your blog and it just seems like your world is limited to everything Christian. I guess I just don't understand the mindset."

The comment almost startled me. I often take it for granted that most of the regular readers of my blog are Christians, or at least sympathetic to that world view. The reader's comments were a rather jarring wake-up call for me. Non-Christians sometimes read my blog. What is it saying to them?

My life mission statement is a quote that's attributed to Mother Teresa, but is really simple, basic and clear: "O Lord, let your light shine on others through me." I have the quote taped up in my workspace at the radio station where I work. It's a constant reminder that my words and actions--whether it's on the radio, in the blogosphere, or in everyday life--are being observed by others.

I explained to the woman who commented that I do read a lot of secular books--although I admit that I love Christian fiction because it agrees with my worldview, affirms my faith and uplifts my heart.

I also showcase Christian authors on my blog, partly because I know they don't get as much publicity as secular writers, and I want to give them as much of a platform as I possibly can.

But, you know, I make no apology for the "Christian-ness" of my blog. As I replied to the commenter, "As for my blog being mainly about Christian things--well, I can't really separate my faith from the rest of my life. It's not something I put on a shelf and take off for Sunday services. It really permeates everything I say and do, and apparently, this blog reflects that.

"I sometimes come across blogs of people of other religions, or even atheists, who make that belief--or lack of belief--the main thrust of their blog. They are perfectly within their rights to do so, and if people don't want to read it, they don't have to.

"That said, I hope I'm always loving and gracious to everyone, no matter what their beliefs."

I went over to her blog, said some genuine nice things about it, and gave her a heads-up that I had replied to her comment on my own blog. She ended up posting a very gracious comment to me in reply.

I came away from the incident with a re-inforced knowledge. I need to constantly realize that non-Christians sometimes read my blog, even if only by accident. While I want my faith to shine clearly in the things I write, I also need to make sure my words--even when they're offensive to non-Christians--are seasoned with grace and love.

And not just in the blogosphere...in real, every day life as well. The old saying, "You may be the only Bible some people ever read," is more than a cliche.

If my goal is to let Christ's light shine through me, then I need to make sure it can shine as brightly as possible.

"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."--Matthew 5:16


--Cindy Swanson

Visit Cindy's personal blog:





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23 Comments:

Blogger Denise said...

Keep letting your light shine brightly.

January 11, 2008 at 11:38 PM  
Blogger Jessie said...

You handled that so well. It is a teaching for me. So many times my first reaction is to get defensive and I really dislike that about my own tendancies. Thank you for sharing this with us. May we all learn from your gracious example of love and truth.

January 12, 2008 at 6:05 AM  
Blogger Mary Lou said...

Cindy, I agree with you about reading Chrisian fiction. I find it uplifts me and confirms and reaffirms my beliefs.....We are the only Bible that some people will ever read and that does need to make us be more viligiant in how we act and what we say and do everywhere....When your beliefs are a way of life they are part of everything you do all day long. The longer i live the more convicted I am of this fact. May your light continue to shine brightly for Him. (dlowran1(at)comcast(dot)net

January 12, 2008 at 6:33 AM  
Blogger TNLisa said...

Our motto here is "Shine for Jesus" no matter where we are, or what we're doing. Thank you your sweet insight.
Lisa
www.homeschoolblogger.com/TNLisa

January 12, 2008 at 8:02 AM  
Blogger Mocha with Linda said...

Ah, the delicate dance of being in the world . . . and not of the world.

Being separate. . . without being cocooned.

Taking a stand. . . without being judgmental.

This is a great post. Thanks for sharing.

January 12, 2008 at 9:55 AM  
Blogger Cory said...

Cindy, Thank you for this very thoughtful content. You are right. We need to be gracious and kind in our everyday lives so that we model God's love and grace. You have done it very well. Take care, Cory

January 12, 2008 at 11:17 AM  
Blogger Deb said...

Great Post!! Yes we all need to be gracious, and REAL!! We cant win people over to Jesus if we act soooo HOLY just be yourself,after all thats who God called (YOU). Thanks for the reminder. God Bless

January 12, 2008 at 1:21 PM  
Blogger Cheryl said...

"I made no apology for the 'Christian-ness' of my blog." That is a very poignant statement. So many times, Christians fail to take a stand because they don't want to be offensive. Thank you for reminding us that we a called to be light seasoned with love!

January 12, 2008 at 2:00 PM  
Blogger Cheryl said...

"I made no apology for the 'Christian-ness' of my blog." That is a very poignant statement. So many times, Christians fail to take a stand because they don't want to be offensive. Thank you for reminding us that we a called to be light seasoned with love!

January 12, 2008 at 2:01 PM  
Blogger windycindy said...

Thank you for helping me keeping my light lit! To me, there is also a big difference between religion and being spiritual.....Cindi
jchoppes[at]hotmail[dot]com

January 12, 2008 at 3:11 PM  
Blogger The Preacher's Wife said...

I would personally consider it a compliment that it was completely obvious yours was a Christian blog. If our lives are completely transformed by the Gospel, our speech seasoned with salt and light, then one shouldn't have to look far in our archives to determine whether we are a believer or not.

I think there is a huge difference in being a bulldog or beagle christian. One rips to shreds and leaves one battered and bloody while the other just licks your face off.

And isn't that a visual ya'll are glad I left you with? LOL

Lisa

January 12, 2008 at 3:24 PM  
Blogger Talk..to..Grams said...

Cindy that was so good!! Your blog does refect God's Love! I was over at your blog and read that you were over here today and I am glad I came on over!!
I like the way you have with words!! You make us stop and think!! Love and Hugs Grams

January 12, 2008 at 4:35 PM  
Blogger ChristiS said...

Amen! Christianity SHOULD permeate every aspect of our lives. If it doesn't, that is when one should be concerned, I believe!

January 12, 2008 at 4:59 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

I too have recently realized that many non-Christians stumble across my blog. And you know what I thought? Even if they don't like what they see on my blog, God can still use it to plant a seed. So I'm trying to "let my light shine" as often as possible while blogging too!

January 12, 2008 at 5:15 PM  
Blogger Betty said...

Hi Cindy,

Your light shines so brightly and you are right to never apologize for that. That is what we all are supposed to do as Christians - let our light shine!!!

You handled that situation very nicely. I'm proud of you.

January 12, 2008 at 6:45 PM  
Blogger Chris @ Come to the Table said...

Cindy,
The question you asked in the title has really made me think about ways that I am letting my light shine.
Everything I do and live is revolved around Christianity and like you I make no apologies, but I still ask myself if an unsaved person was to visit my blog or visit me in real life, what would they leave with?

January 12, 2008 at 7:54 PM  
Blogger Living Beyond said...

At the end of the day it is just about being authentic and living the thing out in front of the world - whether through blogging, work-place or church.

I'm glad that your visitor questioned the content of your blog - it shows that you are living out what you believe and that Jesus consumes all aspects of your life.

Great post - thank you!

January 12, 2008 at 9:03 PM  
Blogger Linda said...

Cindy, your post is wonderfully thought-provoking. Look at the "discussion" it generated here. Everyone is now taking stock! Excellent, excellent thoughts. Thank you.

January 12, 2008 at 9:18 PM  
Blogger Praise and Coffee said...

So true Cindy, thank you for the gentle reminder!

I have said that I rather enjoy being a light in a light place, it's the dark places that are a challenge sometime.

You are a light!
Sue

January 12, 2008 at 9:36 PM  
Blogger Amy B said...

I think this was a great post and like you, I have noticed that many non-Christians actually stop on my blog and read. When I realized this I started purposely posting about things that aren't strictly Christian such as fashion, TV shows, or cooking. I want them to stop. I want them to read. I want them to see that I am just like them *except* I love Jesus and because of that I am free! I have peace! I have joy! I am forgiven!

The greatest compliment I have ever received was one person who said, "Even when you aren't talking about God you are still talking about him."

To that I replied, "Thank you!"

Great post!

January 12, 2008 at 10:33 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

That's a powerful interchange you've shared here, Cindy. It's easy for us to live in our "Christian bubbles," but that's not usually where Jesus was found. He was out and about, engaging with people from all walks of life. Thanks for modeling that for all of us.

January 13, 2008 at 3:32 AM  
Blogger lori said...

Cindy...
"O Lord, let your light shine on others through me."

What a wonderful message! We never know who is watching or listening...all we can do is live...
Francis of Assisi wrote once, "Preach the gospel at all times, if necessary use words...."

Those words of ours are who we are...and should always reflect that and hopefully someday move someone to want some of what we are so blessed to have found...

fabulous!!
lori

January 13, 2008 at 7:53 PM  
Blogger Vicki said...

Great post, Cindy, and I thought you handled that comment well. May the love of Christ permeate everything we say and do.

January 18, 2008 at 2:26 PM  

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