Why do us Christians get such a bad rap? Scratch your heads in wonder no longer... It's obvious enough isn't it? We can be UGLY. Our goal is to spread the Gospel and show the love of Jesus to everyone around us and save souls right? So why aren't we?
How do we expect to reflect Christ if we are too busy reflecting arrogance? Anger? Impatience? And the like. What do you think would happen to Christianity if we gave back the molding clay to Christ and allowed Him to solely create the masterpiece he desires?
"Jesus replied: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" Matthew 22:37-39 (NIV)
This isn't something you would typically here in Sunday school (speaking in general here.) so brace yourself! I think Christians out there (including me) tend to come on a little too strong when representing the Gospel. I am not saying that we can't be bold and tell them straight up...(see I just did it without knowing... I said, "them" as if non-Christians were some rapidly spreading plague. That is exactly what I am talking about. I don't even have to type anymore in this paragraph.
Do you see the problem? This mindset needs to change. But how?
The second is equally important: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' No other commandment is greater than these. -Mark 12:31 is how.
How many times do we spend treating others like we would want to be treated? What does that even mean to us? Is it just some cute cliche or is it really taking up residence in our heart and being applied? I firmly believe we cannot change our ugliness without first taking to heart this verse and applying it --praying to God and asking for forgiveness for maybe exhibiting a haughty Spirit or speaking with a hasty tongue. We spend so much time focusing on the problems of others telling non Christians they must repent, get on there knees and turn from there wicked ways oh but let us not forget that we yes are Saints but that doesn't mean we need to go parading around blowing our heavenly trumpets. We too are in need of forgiveness and grace daily. We sin daily. Our sins are no better then the non-Christian's! How dare we think so!
I was scrolling through Facebook today and I came across this awesome saying:
"Our days are happier when we give people a bit of our heart rather than a piece of our mind."
How true is this! Not only are our days happier when we do this but we feel lighter our conscience is clear but best of all...no one has to go walking around feeling inferior after talking to us and Christ gets the glory! Too many times we fail to remember when sharing Jesus with others that yes we have been given great wisdom from the Scriptures that has is and will forever shape our entire life now and forever but to many non-Christians that sounds more like Greek from a different galaxy. "Great wisdom", "Yeah, like you know it all." Has been a typical response to this. Meaning, just because you know the truth that has set you free doesn't mean it's automatically supposed to transform someone over night. Like with any relationship... it takes time. Same with a relationship with Jesus. You can't just smack a non-Christian upside the head praying the word soaks in there brain at first impact. Forcing upon them piles and piles of theology and church linguistics and deep C.S. Lewis quotes aren't going to help you get across to the non-Christian. It will only confuse matters.
"Instead of giving them a piece of your mind.. give them a piece of your heart. "
What does that mean? That means let's stop acting like we know it all just because we know the one who does! God is God. We are NOT. HE knows it ALL. We do NOT. HE is our creator, WE are HIS creation. HE is the potter WE are the clay. We have great wisdom BECAUSE of JESUS. Because of HIS word embedded on our hearts. NOT because of anything we have done. It's because of everything He has done. Do we know the Bible? Good spread it don't tread it. It's not a book to be walked on and trampled over. You might say, "But I'm a good upstanding Christian -man or woman of God that would never think to ever misuse my precious Bible..." ..I'm so glad that you would never think to misuse your Bible and trample all over it in the dirt. I'm so glad your keeping it zipped up in a pretty little weather protecting case right on your night stand. But my question is... how do you choose to use your precious Bible when presenting it? When sharing those invaluable words on those pages when speaking to others? What good is the precious Bible and the pretty carrying case when we don't care to carry the message of the Gospel further than church on Sunday morning? What good are those words, those truths --if never shared in love? Give a piece of your heart Christians. Not a piece of your mind.
As a Christian, I want to make a public apology to all of you out there who don't want anything to do with God or Christianity: Most of you have had a lot of bad experiences with Christians. As one myself, I am embarrassed and very saddened by this. I apologize for not always reflecting Christ as I should. Being a Christian doesn't mean being perfect so don't be surprised when we get hypocritical. It's the Christian that gets hypocritical because we are not God. But God is the perfect and righteous -un-hypocritical one. ChristIANS WILL let you down. We will! But CHRIST never will. Christians don't always follow Christ. Instead they follow their own traditions ad beliefs and ways of doing things and put a, "Christian stamp" on their actions to justify them and call it "Biblical." It's sadly true there are many Christians who forget how to live a Christian life and forget what the Bible ACTUALLY says. I'm guilty too... so this is no attack on any other Christians. To all of you who dislike the whole Christian thing and the God we follow: I am sorry that you have been hurt like that. It's a really sad thing because that is so not how God is. If there is anything I could ever do to help you with anything --even if that means just leaving you be... don't hesitate. I'll be here! <3
In response to this some of you may say, "I am my own person...I have the right to believe whatever I want. So what if I don't believe in a magic man in the sky? Not everyone does."
My answer to that would be, Just because you have the "right" to do something... doesn't make it right. I have the "right" to jump off of a 1,368 foot cliff into shark infested waters but does that make it okay? No! Of course not. Just because we have "rights" doesn't mean there right. So who's right and who's wrong? The Bible is right. God is right. Do I doubt this? No. Should you? Sure but doubting God and the Bible will have the same effect as jumping off a 1,368 foot cliff into shark infested waters. It will eventually lead to you to nowhere fast. You think I'm being extreme? Well so was Jesus when He was nailed to a wooden cross naked on a hill with his flesh being torn apart for my sins. The least I can do is be a bit extreme because Christ showed extreme love for me and you on the cross. This is no scare tactic. Or empty religion. It's a real relationship with Jesus Christ that makes a lasting difference in our lives now and forever. Our faith is not just a belief system. It's our identity.
I think we can become so wrapped up in becoming this fake plastic "perfect" Christian that we forget making our relationship with Christ personal and real. Holiness not flawlessness. Growth and grace.
It's not about looking like we have it all together. It's about being real and walking daily with our closest friend. We can't be so stuck up as Christians that we turn a deaf ear to those people who need to know the love of Jesus.
Jesus is a friend to the non-Christian and we need to show that.
Religion: A personalized set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs and practices blah blah blah.
Relationship: The state of being connected to another, others.
Connect. Don't just coexist. Christ is waiting. Stop running, stop searching. Start listening.