One of the neat things about Christianity is the way that it transforms the way you relate to other people.
How do you relate to other people if you are an atheist? Well, on atheism, there isn’t any way you ought to be that is independent of your own personal preferences. And there isn’t anyway other people ought to be, either. Instead, atheists tend to reduce relationships down to the level of making themselves happy. On an atheistic view, the purpose of life is to pursue happiness, and relationships with other people are just another part of pursuing happiness. Atheists will look at people as a means to help them achieve happiness in this life.
But things are different on Christianity. When Christians start to act on their belief that the Christian worldview is true, they have a completely different view of how they should relate to other people. Rather than trying to dominate them or using them for pleasure, we instead look at other people as God’s creatures who are made for a relationship with God. And this applies regardless of whether the person is ugly or pretty, young or old, short or tall, rich or poor. Everybody has to know God, and it becomes the Christian’s job to help with that.
Consider this post by Laura at GOP Refugee/Pursuing Holiness, where she explains how she’s had to put her own desires second in order to take a long-term, God-centered view of her relationships.
There’s no time like the holidays to bring out the Jerry Springer in people. A time to gather, a time to remember… all those decades of past slights and offenses, real and imagined. We’re currently undergoing such a drama in my family. In years past, I would have enthusiastically engaged in it, fiercely defending my position and making a case to show why I’m right, dammit, and you need to [stop, start, resume] [behaving a certain way.] Over the years, my perspective has gradually changed as I slog through this pursuit of holiness. I’m less concerned with my own honor and more with God’s.
Wow! Go read the whole thing. This is something that Christians often struggle with that non-Christians never imagine is even an issue. Every day Christians deny their own desire to be selfish in relationships so that they don’t negatively impact other people’s vertical relationship with God. It’s hard for anybody to just let these interpersonal squabbles go unanswered. But we Christians are duty-bound to consider what God wants in relationships. We don’t want to distract you non-Christians from the main issue of being reconciled with God through Christ!