Monday, September 25, 2023

‘My goal is not to shove my religion in your face’

January 26, 2014
	<p>Derek Kim</p>

Derek Kim

The definition of love has become a war zone in our modern age.

The hordes of love’s interpretations threaten to suck the life out of the word. But love is not subjective. It has an objective meaning. And its truth is under relentless attack when I hear people on campus use the phrase, “Stop shoving religion down peoples’ throats.”

Maybe it’s driven by misunderstanding, or more likely, a bad experience with a “Christian.” But the problem with this remark is it ignores the very truth that upholds the universe. Hearing it breaks my heart.

When I became a Christian, a war commenced on the Gettysburg that is my heart ­— an ongoing fight between people’s approval and standing firm in my convictions.

I had to choose. Was I going to hypocritically label myself a “Jesus freak” and still find pleasure in lust, lying and swindling? Could I call myself a Christian, yet still stumble sideways out of Rick’s on Saturday nights?

I’ve learned that following Jesus is an all-or-nothing deal. It’s more than attending University Reformed Church on Sundays. It involves more than treating women with utmost dignity rather than as objects of sexual gratification. Being a Christian is embracing love’s all-consuming meaning. It wasn’t until I discovered this truth that I began to open my mouth.

Let it be said loud and clear: the “preachers” at Wells Hall do not accurately represent these truths. They present the problem without the solution. I have a tough time seeing their heart for their audience through such a callous, inconsiderate tone.

In contrast, let me give you a glimpse of a movement of college students who have embraced what I consider to be the all-supreme epitome of love.

On Jan. 17–18, I was in Atlanta with 20,000 other college students for Passion 2014. Passion is a global movement of 18–25 year olds who all exist for one thing. It’s called the 268 declaration, based on Isaiah 26:8, to honor Jesus on campuses and to groups around the world. I have attended this conference for several years now, and I never leave disappointed.

Worshiping with tens of thousands of your peers, learning from some of the best Bible teachers alive and meeting people from around the world who share your conviction composes a microscopic glimpse of Heaven.

At Passion, I met cancer survivors, former drug addicts and brothers and sisters from across the globe — all united for one cause: love.

I leave Atlanta every January having met world changers, future history makers and hundreds of college students who share this passion to help our classmates, professors and teammates see the greatest good.

If I claim to know a love that is completely satisfying and a truth that is earth-shattering, how selfish it would be of me to keep my mouth shut.

No, this doesn’t mean I scream at random, defenseless freshmen in a Wells Hall preacher-fashion.
Instead, I try to demonstrate my faith in the countless relationships I have been blessed with at Spartan Nation.

My actions must support my words. And what I speak must match the conduct of my life. Whether that is through Student Athlete Support Services philanthropy events in local schools, sharing my story at campus ministries, gaining the trust of classmates and professors in the School of Journalism or leading my team bible study, I try to demonstrate my faith to others.

Loving other people and helping people embrace this definition of love is best accomplished through a holistic approach.

I hope people notice my actions and ask me about them, giving me the chance to explain to them what I believe and how faith has impacted my life.

Love is not based on experiences. Love is not synonymous with acceptance. Love is not a fuzzy feeling in your chest. Love is pointing people to good — the greatest good that upholds the cosmos and the life of every breathing thing — God!

The Bible says God is the greatest good. Not his blessings, not his plan, not Heaven — Him. If this is true, then the most loving thing I could do is point my peers to God. God not only shows us what love is, but is the definition of love Himself.

As a Christian, I am more than what some consider a “good, moral” person. I am far from perfect. I am just a broken sinner, trying to help other broken sinners discover remedy. My goal is not to shove my religion in your face. It’s sharing — loving.

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Derek Kim is a journalism junior. Reach him at


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