Although some people have an impression of Christianity that leads them to believe it’s a private, monastic, solitary life, nothing could be further from the truth. Christianity has always been public, shared in public, and lived in public. It was never intended to be otherwise.
To help make my point, here are two important verses supporting it. First, when Jesus was questioned by the High Priest before He was condemned and crucified, He said something that revealed His position: "I have spoken openly to the world. I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret. Why do you ask me? Ask those who have heard me what I said to them; they know what I said" (John 18:19-21, italics added).
Second, when the apostle Paul recounted his conversion experience to King Agrippa (i.e., Herod Agrippa II) and the Roman governor of Judea, Festus, he
straightforwardly said: “For the king knows about these things, and to him I speak boldly. For I am persuaded that none of these things has escaped his notice, for this has not been done in a corner." (Acts 26:26, ).
Here’s my point: Christianity is public. It began in the public and, unless we—those of us who consider ourselves Christians—are privatizing the faith, it should continue to be public. Let's not break ranks and begin to do something that neither Jesus nor Paul intended to be done.
Instead, let’s be public with our faith. But here are a few suggestions.
First, our public Christianity should be respectful. The Bible teaches that human beings are made in the image of God. It doesn’t specify which human beings: it simply says all human beings are made in the image of God. So, when we speak to people, we should speak to them with the respect that is inherent in that principle, regardless of whether or not they agree with us or we agree with them.
Second, our public Christianity should be gracious. If anyone should know what it’s like enjoy grace, it’s the Christian. So, Christians, in turn, should be gracious rather than judgmental. True, there are things that Christians believe about moral rights and wrongs, but in no place is the Christian deputized as a judge: only God is the Judge in Christianity.
Third, our public Christianity should be kind. In an effort to sound right, we often speak wrong. The message of Christianity carries enough weight. We don’t need to add to it with a tone that is condescending. Kindness should pervade our presentation of Christianity. Even Christ Himself was kind to those rejected by society (see Matthew 11:16-19).
Christianity is public. But it should also be respectful, gracious, and kind.