I Want You to Like Me

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I want you to like me.

That might sound like a strange thing to confess. But then again, I bet I’m not the only one who wants to be liked.

I don’t often engage pop culture or the latest news in what I write. But for a long time I thought about writing a response to the Supreme Court’s legalization of gay marriage. {Because nobody is sick of hearing about it, right?}

But I have something to confess to you besides the fact that this article isn’t actually about the Supreme Court's legalization of gay marriage, and besides the fact that I want you to like me.

This is my confession. That while I considered what I would write in response to the court's ruling, other thoughts plagued my mind:

How can I address this topic in the least confrontational way? How can I write a post in such a way that everyone would still like me? Both those who believe that homosexuality is wrong, and those changing their Facebook profile pictures to the colors of the rainbow? How can I share without losing followers or friends or receiving any backlash?

And in the middle of my thoughts, the “About Me” page from my website flashed across my mind. There I wrote about myself: “A lover of truth and laughter.”

What a joke.

How can I call myself a “lover of truth” when my thoughts only reveal me as a “lover of being liked?” A lover of writing what people want to hear? A lover of platform, and followers, and reputation? How can I call myself a “lover of truth” if my biggest fear is what people will think of me if they know what I believe?

Jesus’ actions made Him a likeable person when He lived on Earth. He loved the unlovable. He fed the hungry. He healed the sick. His sacrificial love and compassion drew crowds of people to Him.

But how much do you think people liked when He claimed to be God? How much do you think people liked when He said the only way to get to heaven was to believe in Him? How much do you think people liked when He said to “sell your possessions and give to the poor?”

As a follower of Christ and as an ambassador of this loving and compassionate God, I was not put on this Earth to be liked. Not because of the things I believe in, anyways. I was put on this Earth to point others to Christ. Plain and simple.

Under the “Our Beliefs” section on the “About Me” page of my website, it mentions the Apostle’s Creed and Micah 6:8. But I could go into more detail about my beliefs. And if I did, I bet I could find at least one thing you don’t like about me or don't agree with.

I could talk piety:

I believe that all sexual acts outside of traditional marriage are sin. I believe that abortion is wrong. I believe that gossip, gluttony, envy, pride, anger, greed, lust, and laziness are wrong. I believe that neglecting the poor, the widow, and the orphan is just as serious and hell-worthy a sin as carnal acts of sexual immorality. 

I believe that sometimes we value piety higher than extending God's grace and compassion to those outside the church. I believe that sometimes God might say to the church, "well-discussed" instead of "well done."

I believe Christians should stop being surprised when the rest of the world does not believe in the God we do, or uphold the truths of His Word.

And I could talk politics:

I think that even though we have made progress in the United States of America, racism is alive. That I don’t often agree with our foreign policies and involvement in other countries. That I don’t believe in the death penalty. That while I am grateful for freedom; I know that I, along with many others who claim to follow Christ, squander our freedom on things that have no eternal value. That while it's great to be patriotic and to love one's country, sometimes we are patriotic to the point of idolatry. 

I could tell you that I don’t think Jesus was a Democrat or a Republican.

And I could say I believe that “politics” is important, but that the heart of our issues is our unfaithful hearts themselves.

And I could tell you that even though I believe all these things, that I am not perfect and that I make mistakes too.

So, how do you like me now?

Are you behind your screen, cringing at any or all the things I believe? Are you trying to think of what you would say to start a debate on any one of these topics? Do you think I am arrogant, bigoted, ignorant, intolerant, naive, or just plain stupid?

After worrying before about wanting you to like me, my counter goal is not to make you hate me. {Maybe I already have.} But I have a sticky note up on my prayer board that says this: “Help me to write the truth in love.”

Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into Him who is the Head, that is Christ. {Ephesians 4:15}

That is my wholehearted prayer. That what I say will be truthful, and how I say it will be loving and compassionate and kind. I believe it is possible to disagree with someone and still treat them with love and kindness. Conviction and compassion can walk hand in hand.

I don’t often talk about heavily-debated issues from news and pop culture on this website. Sometimes I don’t feel qualified. Other times I feel the most meaningful discussions about tricky topics are had in face-to-face conversation, not broadcasted across the internet. Not hiding behind our screens with false courage to spit angry words back and forth to each other.

But my goal, and the point of this article is this: I pray that I will never avoid a topic for the sole reason that I am afraid of not being liked. Afraid of losing an audience. Afraid of losing friends or followers or page views.

My prayer is that my life will point others to Christ. Plain and simple. Not just in what I say, or write, or claim to believe, or share on social media, but also in how I act. How I live out what I believe. How I show kindness and compassion to whoever I come into contact with, whether I agree with their beliefs or not.

My prayer is that more than treading carefully so that others will like me, I will tread carefully so that my words and actions will not lead anyone astray. Anyone away from Christ.

Jesus said to His disciples, “Things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe to that person through whom they come. It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. So watch yourselves.” {Luke 17:1-3a}

And my prayer is that all followers of Christ will take seriously the job of being His ambassador.

Pastors, teachers, parents, friends. Do you recognize the heavy responsibility it is to point others to Christ through your words and actions? And do you recognize the heavy consequences that come from leading someone astray?

I want you to like me.

But more so, I want to point you to Christ. Through kindness and compassion. By being a "lover of truth."

Grace and Peace,
Kendra