Side note: Alright, readers- settle in with a nice cup of coffee and a get into a comfortable chair because this is a long one. I know that sentence may scare some people off, or maybe you’re already bored, but I hope that you will continue to read anway.
Do you ever get defensive about being a Christian?
I mean when someone finds out that you’re a Christian, do you ever feel like saying “But I’m not one of those Christians” or something like that?
I’m embarrassed to say that I feel that way all the time. I feel like when someone finds out that I’m a Christian, I immediately have to start battling preconceived stereotypes that instantaneously begin floating around in someone’s head as soon as they hear the word “Christian.”
There are a lot of things, ideas, groups, and beliefs that Christianity is associated with that make me uncomfortable.
For example, there is a group around town- I don’t know who they are or where they come from- but they show up on campus every now and then and stand on benches and scream about how all of us college kids are going to hell because we’re promiscuous and unvirtuous and unethical and defiled and blah blah blah.
Sometimes they hand out pamphlets about abortion- showing graphic pictures of aborted fetuses and torn-up women. Sometimes they target women walking by who are wearing yoga pants or short shorts and call them whores and demand that we change how we dress or we’ll burn in the lake of fire. Sometimes they target men accusing them of getting drunk last weekend and raping a girl. Sometimes they target peope with rainbow paraphernalia and start condemning them to hell because they’re gay.
As if that isn’t disturbing enough, they do all of this in the name of Jesus.
I dont know whether to facepalm and shake my head in shame, or stand next to those guys and hold up a sign that says “Don’t believe anything he says- you are loved.”
Do you ever get defensive about being a Christian?
I get defensive about being a Christian.
I get real defensive.
I don’t want to be associated with judgemental people spewing hate on campus. I don’t want to be associated with a group of people who think they’re so high and mighty, condemning everyone in sight.
I want to be associated with Jesus. I want to be associated with love and mercy, humilty and peace. I want to be associated with sacrifice and compassion, acceptance and service.
Not judgement. Not hate. Not self-righteousness. Not hypocrisy.
In 2 Corinthians 5:20, Paul refers to us as “Christ’s ambassadors.”
Think about that.
We, as people, are an important medium through which God’s truth is spread.
Now what if we, as people, as important media, as Christ’s ambassadors are doing it wrong?
That sounds harsh, I know. But sometimes, I really do think we’re doing it wrong.
When we take a step back and think about every thing we’ve ever done- every vicious rumor we’ve ever spread, every mean thing we’ve ever done, every judgemental glance, every self-righteous comment, every assumption we’ve made based on someone’s “slutty clothes” or rainbow pin- when we take a step back and see everything we’ve done, it’s easy to realize that we are the people standing on the bench spewing hate.
Sometimes I make the mistake of creating a me and a them. The them is judgemental. They are mean and hateful and self-righteous. They are the reason people don’t want to be Christian.
And then there’s me. I am humble. I am loving. I am kind. I am the reason why people are drawn to Christianity. Right?
Weeeeelllllll, not exactly. I mean, sometimes I really am humble. Sometimes I really am loving. Somtimes I really am kind. But a lot of the time I am judgemental. A lot of the time I am mean. A lot of the time I am hateful. A lot of the time I am self-righteous. A lot of the time my actions are so unworthy of Christ’s sacrifice.
Sometimes, I think that some of my actions make Jesus say to himself, “I dont know whether to facepalm and shake my head in shame, or stand next to the her with a sign that says ‘Don’t believe anything she says- you are loved.'”
I am the group of people standing on the bench spewing hate.
But I shouldn’t be.
I think it’s important to remember that we are Christ’s ambassadors. We are important media through which God’s truth is spread. And we need to act like it. We shouldn’t be a reason that people are repelled by Christianity and give up on a journey towards a relationship with God.
We need to take a step back and look at our actions. We need to ask ourselves, what gospel are we preaching by how we treat one another?
I ask you, beg you, implore you to think about the Gospel. Think about what Jesus taught. His whole message was about LOVE.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
Think about Jesus’s sacrifice. Over and over and over again in the gospels, it talks about Jesus’ suffering. Over and over and over again in the Bible, it talks about how much God loves the world.
In the end God’s message, Jesus’ purpose, the truth of the Word- it’s all about love. It’s not about me. It’s not about them. It’s about love for everyone.
So if we’re going to be standing on a bench screaming about anything, let it be about love. The love of God for His people. If we stand up and spew love all over this world, then maybe, just maybe, as important media and Christ’s ambassador’s, we’ll be doing it right.
So, you’ve made it to the end of this post- congratulations! It was a long one. Here’s some exciting news to reward your efforts: I’m going to do a mini-series of posts- YAY! You get to read EVEN MORE of my ramblings. (Read some sarcasm into that enthusiasm) Once a week there will be a post from me on what the ideal world of Christianity looks like to me. So, if you’re interested, stay tuned for the next couple weeks and take a look at what Christianity means to me.