The church in my lifetime has brought much trouble on itself by making the Kingdom a thing of imposition. It is not. Someone has said, “True Believers never impose a thing on others because God himself does not impose”. Instead we propose a relationship with the One who leads to life, and then we allow our friends to choose for themselves whether they will accept or reject”. “Come to me all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest”. (Matthew 11:28). Or if you prefer the Peterson translation, (as I do on this verse), “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you will recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest”.
We’ve made a profound mistake by imposing on our neighbors such bossy ideas as “the Religious Right” and “the Moral Majority”. It seems quite big-headed and embarrassing to dub ourselves “right” and “moral” when our neighbors can clearly see us for the messed-up and needy people we are. Perhaps they would hear us better if we simply proposed, “We’re broken and confused just like everybody else, trying to stumble forward in this frightening world. But we’ve found some wonderful hope and life in following Jesus. Would you like to come along with us?” I’m thinking that might be a little more honest and easier on the ears of our neighbors. The Kingdom is not a command, but an invitation.