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|Looking for the Perfect Guest||10/12/2007|
This week I interviewed Bill O'Reilly and the critical comments came quickly. Some said, "He is too arrogant, harsh and intolerant." But how can we possibly impact anyone when we refuse to interact with them? We have even received unkind remarks when we interviewed notable ministry leaders.
I don't find any indication on the part of Christ that we are to avoid people with whom we do not totally agree, deliberately contributing to the great polarization in our country. It is perfectly healthy for people to disagree, debate and discuss firmly held positions. The Bible invites us to come and reason together.
Shouldn't we, as Christians, penetrate the darkness, truly piercing it and dispersing it with the radiance of love and life and the willingness to talk to those who hold opinions contrary to our own? It is important not only to proclaim the love of God and share it, but also demonstrate and practice it by attempting to build better communication among believers.
I am committed to talk to others about their faith, experiences and journey. We have given ordinary people the opportunity to share the extraordinary grace and power of God in their lives. We want Christ to be the center of our ministry and we want Him to be seen in the lives of others. We give an opportunity for people to share their heart and spiritual experiences, the tragedies and challenges they have faced, and God's enabling grace taking them through it with viewers around the world. We want everyone to know they are important in God's kingdom purpose.
In order to do this, we invite people with different views -- even some theological positions that we ourselves might question. We are not afraid to openly challenge those views, but we try to do it with graciousness and kindness. (After all, who’s to say that I have all the answers?) As a result, we have had many guests tell us that their lives and even their beliefs have been radically altered by the time they spend with us and the staff of LIFE Outreach.
Many guests have told us that LIFE Today totally changed their lives. One of the most visible ministers in the country said he was becoming mean-spirited and not walking in love, but that God changed his heart while he was watching our program. We have seen people in the entertainment community and the media impacted by the private interaction before and after taping the program.
Some viewers write harsh letters because we have women sharing insights on our television program. Some think that any woman teaching is totally out of place, yet no one honored women more than Jesus Christ Himself. The Bible is filled with women of high inspirational impact.
I need to make it clear that we do not endorse or embrace everything that every guest says, believes or does, but we seek to be a blessing to them, hear their hearts and encourage everyone to seek God together. Betty and I want to be teachable and learn from others.
Please understand that with all my heart I want to be a blessing to everyone. I wish I could talk to the rockers and rappers about Jesus. I wish I could talk to every Hollywood entertainer and movie star about the Bright and Morning Star. I would like the opportunity to share God's love with them privately or on television, even as I disagree with their beliefs. However, I cannot possibly (in a matter of moments) bring about all the changes that every viewer thinks should occur.
Let me just say as I would to all guests, putting myself at the top of the list, I want us all to be right when we've been wrong. I want us to be led to truth and to lead others to truth, but not be beaten up on our journey or contribute to beating others up who may be out of step or out of sync with what we perceive to be the correct belief system.
Betty and I will continue to pursue the One who is perfect. Yet, He above all, the only perfect One, continually received criticism. His beard was plucked, His brow was pierced, His back was shredded, His hands were pierced and He was nailed on a cross. The greatest force of criticism and condemnation came not from the general population, not the common people and not even the government whose representative said he washed his hands of the blood of this innocent man. It was primarily a critical, intolerant, always-right religious crowd that made certain this guest would not be tolerated. They attempted to drive him forever from life's stage. My friends, He is alive! And it is His life and love that we will spend the rest of our lives seeking to share, not only in word, but also in deed. This means that I will be talking to some guests whom viewers might consider to be "publicans" or "sinners," because when it comes to pleasing everyone, there is no perfect guest.
Author: James Robison
Word Count: 902
About the author: James Robison is the founder and president of LIFE Outreach International, a Christian media ministry and mission relief organization. He and his wife, Betty, host of the television program Life Today; He has authored numerous books, including The Absolutes: Freedom's Only Hope and True Prosperity.
Media Contact: Randy Robison, editor at jamesrobison.net
Photo available upon request. Reprint rights granted with attribution for complete, unedited article. Revisions allowed only with approval.