World, we have a lot of problems.
Sometimes I feel like an eighty year old watching the VMAs for the first time, shaking my head at the vulgarity, the cynicism, the anger that I see unfolding before me.
But it’s not because I’m watching Miley Cyrus twerk, and it’s not because I’m analyzing fashion on the red carpet. (Although that always solicits the same response from me.) It’s not because I’m exposing myself to only mainstream media, or an entertainment industry that is borderline pornographic.
It’s because I’m having conversations with Christians.
The very ones who are supposed to engage themselves in a life-long endeavor of reflecting nothing but goodness, the perfection that was God’s son.
These are the people who, lately, I have found to be the most hostile.
I’m not one to shy away from controversial topics. It’s not in my nature. The day before yesterday, I posted a blog, calling out all fellow conservatives for the way they were behaving. Today, I’m doing the same thing to Christians.
Because of the way a lot of them acted yesterday.
Yesterday, I engaged in quite a few conversations with people who had never been teachers before. I told them my opinions were based on years experience in the classroom, that I was an effective educator and had two degrees I earned studying the craft. Although some amazing leaders paused to reevaluate their own line of thinking and valued my insight, a few scoffed at me, belittled my experience, and even said I was saying what I was because I had an “inflated view of my worth” and was “self-entitled”.
And if they weren’t audacious enough to say those words, some oozed the same sentiment with the demeaning tone they used.
Wow. Just, wow.
In a private conversation, I’d asked one of them what his own belief was. I thought it was a fair question to ask, since I had laid all of my values out on the table for him to feast on. He told me he was a Christian.
I’m sure he is. I’m not judging him, saying he’s not one simply because he wasn’t acting like one. Lord knows I’ve made mistakes. I fail Him all the time because I act un-Christlike.
But the problem I’m calling him out on – every Christian, for that matter – is the fact that he thinks his acts and tone he exhibited yesterday are justified.
He truly believes that he can continue to judge others because God judges. He truly believes that he can admonish others for thinking differently. After all, he accepted Christ as his savior, so wouldn’t he be held in a higher regard than others?
That point of view makes you like the Pharisees. The very people responsible for the crucifixion and death of Jesus.
You are special and incredibly loved, but your worth is no more than a non-Christian.
My pastor touched on this topic a couple of months ago. You can watch that sermon here
if you want. In that sermon, he informed me that the word “Christian” is used only a few times in the Bible, and each time it’s used, it’s condemning the judgmental Christians who think highly of themselves compared to those who haven’t accepted Christ.
My pastor told me, “Christ doesn’t call us to be Christians. He calls us to be disciples.”
Um. A disciple? A dead guy, the ones from the Bible? But I can’t be them. That’s the name Jesus gave them, right? Aren’t they some special group that’s exclusive?
No, they aren’t. And being one of them isn’t a horribly lofty goal, either.
Look at the twelve men that Jesus chose to be in his inner circle. (Outside of the twelve men, his inner circle included women, too, which was extremely radical at the time he lived.)
Those people questioned. (Thomas)
Those people betrayed. (Judas)
Those people were even accused of letting evil dictate their questions and acts. (Peter)
I could go on.
The disciples weren’t perfect, and neither are we.
But they loved Christ. Immensely, intensely, with all that they had. In the end, every disciple but Judas and John was martyred for their beliefs. They were so insane – crazy in love with Christ – that they died horrific deaths to make sure that everyone could know him intimately.
They’re the reason we all can know him intimately today.
Not the Pharisees. Not the Christians.
I know that we have a job here on this Earth, and it’s not to amicably go along with a culture of degradation and evil intent. We need to stand up against those things.
But when we do, we have to ask ourselves how Jesus would do it, because we are called to be reflections of Him.
Did Jesus admonish sinners and refuse to listen to their points of view? Did He use belittling sarcasm to make his points, or did He use insightful questions and parables to get His points across? Didn’t He listen patiently and pose questions to make them rethink their stances on several topics?
Did He separate Himself from their company, or did He love them through their messes?
What are you doing, Christian?
Being a Christian – a disciple – doesn’t mean you read from your Bible and devotionals. It helps, don’t get me wrong. You grow in your relationship, the same way a husband and wife grow in theirs when they spend time together.
It doesn’t mean you allot two hours of your day to studying the Bible and spend the rest of the day admonishing the world.
Being a Christian doesn’t mean you refuse to listen to popular music or watch television, or condemn those that do.
Being a Christian – the disciple that Jesus yearns for us to be – means making it your life’s quest to be a reflection of Him. And that means showing His fruits, to each and every person at all times.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
In all things, show love. In all things, spread joy. Aim for peace and forbearance. Even in strife, show kindness, gentleness, and goodness, and even when you’re persecuted, show self-control and have faith that everything will be okay.
Because the stakes are high, people. We are presenting our youth with two choices: be accepted for your sin and engage in narcissism, or become followers of something that seems restrictive and condescending.
Those choices aren’t good enough. We need to share with them the inexplicable joy that is knowing Christ. Sure, we can do this through facts and knowledge and a deep study of history, but first – always first- we need to show them Christ. And we can only do that by being the best reflection of Him we can be.
We will always have different views and dissent in this world. It’s the curse of living in it. It won’t always be this way, though.
So Christians, we need to recognize the problem, and the problem is us.
Evil will always exist, but the way we’ve come to handle our exposure to it cannot continue to.
Because evil is tricky. It masks itself with good intentions, but ill-enforced acts.
We need to do a better job being a reflection of Christ’s love. Quit judging. Stop with the righteousness.
Be a disciple.
Fix the problem that is Christianity.
Source: Amanda Deich