If I speak in human and angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing. (1 Cor 13:1-3)
One of the biggest problems faced by almost everyone who attempts to share their faith is remembering the importance of charity. All you need to do is take a look at some of the Christian posts on Facebook and Twitter and you’ll see what I mean. There are a number of well meaning folks who get so carried away with their evangelization efforts that they think nothing of demeaning those who do not agree with their position.
Anyone who knows me or who has visited my website is aware that, as a Catholic, I am deeply opposed to the murderous act of abortion. I have devoted an entire page of my site to pro-life material and I write about it often. However, if I were to personally ridicule and demean those Catholic politicians who support abortion, I would be committing a sin. While I am in no way saying that we shouldn’t speak out, I am saying that we need to take Saint Paul’s advice and do it without making fun of people’s physical appearance, intelligence or personal integrity.
The same applies to our efforts to share our Catholic Faith with our brothers and sisters. As a Catholic, I believe that the Catholic Church is the one true, Church founded by Jesus Christ. While our Church teaches that I need to share the truth with others, I need to remember that not everyone believes the same thing. Should I back down and not speak the truth because I may offend someone? Absolutely not! The Catholic Church contains the fullness of truth and I am morally obligated to share that truth with others. However, I must always remember to do it in an honest, but loving way. Evangelization isn’t about winning arguments, it’s about winning souls!
Unfortunately, I fail at this more often than I’d like to admit. My zeal for the Catholic Faith often causes me to say things that I regret, but I’ll keep trying to improve. I’ll ask the Lord for guidance and continue to listen to His advice in Sacred Scripture. I’ll keep praying for an increase in wisdom, knowledge, prudence and the other gifts of the Holy Spirit. And each day, I’ll pray for an increase in charity in order that I’ll have a greater love for my brothers and sisters. In the words of Saint Peter:
Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope, but do it with gentleness and reverence, keeping your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who defame your good conduct in Christ may themselves be put to shame. (1 Peter 3:15)