I like to stay in touch with what unbelievers are thinking. An excellent source and, I feel, a very well written one at that, is a magazine called "The Sun". Personally, I can relate to many of the stories, letters, and essays, and, because of them, I'm inspired to be genuine myself.
It is one thing to know that we are loved, whatever, whenever, and wherever we are, as Alan Knox stated so thoroughly in his blog. But I believe it's quite another to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge in our hearts so well that others unmistakeably see Christ in us.
From the May 2012 issue of The Sun, the author is largely expressing the confusing disparity, resulting in an internal struggle, between tolerating and taking care of her terminally ill mother. Some of what's tolerated is the apparent hypocrisy of a church-goer, her mother, when she's not at church.
Speaking of a possibly convicting sermon, where the reaction is one of, "Good grief! What if he's right?" The author supposes that negative things carried for family generations can come to an end via a little applied compassion --
"or, if you know full well you're not up to the job [of forgiving people, and forgiving yourself], get down on your knees and let Jesus do it for you. That is the arrangement that's on offer, if I've got the story right.
All of a sudden church is over. These people! They grab you by the throat and wave God in your face, they preach damnation and everlasting glory, then they dismiss you just like that. That's it. We're done here. Go have lunch.
At the door the preacher shakes our hands like we've made a deal, like we've each gotten rid of something we were glad to see the back of."
Dear Lord, let me be sure that is not the impression I leave as I encounter those who are struggling with real life issues, and are seeking a genuine answer, an answer only You can provide.