Romans 16:17-18 I urge you, brothers and sisters, to keep an eye on those who cause dissensions and offences, in opposition to the teaching that you have learned; avoid them. For such people do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the simple-minded.

Several students in our campus ministry held signs proclaiming, “God Is Love, Not Fear” and “Give Love a Chance.” 

The students were there to face the fury of the fire-and-brimstone preacher who visits our campus several times a year. His usual spiel: “You’re wearing shorts and a tank top. You’re going to hell.” “You’re gay. You’re going to hell.” “You haven’t accepted Jesus as your saviour. You’re definitely going to hell.”

Unfortunately, many listeners walk away with the idea that this guy is an accurate representative of Christianity. Some argue with the preacher, but as many students have learned, the more effective option is to not play his game—that is, to avoid engaging that kind of meanness and hate. Instead of becoming embroiled in a tangled theology, they prefer to simply bear witness to their own: God’s love is for us all. 

MOVING FORWARD: What is one way you can bear witness to the love and acceptance Jesus has offer to you in the face of meanness and hate?