I think there came a point in my Christian walk that I got a bit full of myself. Just like an independent teenager (or so they think), I found my soapbox on my beliefs and stands that I was starting to take. I felt that everyone who didn't take those stands were wrong and that it was my job to show them. Ugh! I forgot how to love, how to live peaceably among others and even how to have compassion on the lost. Seriously, how does that happen? Aside from getting saved, this IS Christianity 101.
While taking a stand for the Word and the convictions I have (music, drinking, etc.) is all fine and dandy, I can't get on my high horse thinking I'm something and forget about the basics. In fact, my convictions are my own, no one else's. And while I know what's right for me, I cannot play Holy Spirit and convince someone else to believe the same way. I cannot argue til I'm blue in the face in what the Bible calls a "vain conversation" to make the lightbulb go off in someone's head. That's been a hard pill for me to swallow, because I've always been "my way or the highway."
With all this said, this whole being in ministry thing boils down to one thing: love. Christ's work in us is because He loves us and desires to see us live for Him. We should have the desire to see others do well and encourage them to keep on in the faith. We should hold to our convictions and express them freely, but shoving them down the throat of someone else in a rude, holier than thou manner is just not effective. Jesus preached on sin and hell plenty, but He did it with love. (Not ranting and raving like a hateful bigot. And He was a radical guy in His day!) The Apostle Paul spoke with power and authority from the Holy Spirit, but in an edifying manner. He preached hard on sin because he wanted to see his brothers and sisters in Christ do well and see the lost saved, not to get his personal opinion off of his chest.
To some, this might sound like I am compromising my beliefs or stepping back. Not quite. I still feel very strongly about the same things. However, if I don't have love in my heart for the brethren and I'm so focused on what everyone is doing wrong instead of encouraging them, I'm not right!
It's all about His love. If we are saved, in the Word, in prayer, and submitting to His will ... He will take care of the rest. Our commandment is to love. Christ does everything else!