I have the best intentions in what I’m about to share…I truly do. At the same time, I won’t sugarcoat anything. You see, the truth is that Christians aren’t always my favorite people. In fact, sometimes they make me cringe.
Let me set something straight from the start. I believe in bold faith. I believe in sharing with others what Christ has done for us. I believe the Bible is the absolute truth and is how we should base our lives. I believe in standing up for your values and standards.
Yet here’s what I don’t believe in. I don’t believe in bold faith that condemns others who struggle with faith. I don’t believe that in our sharing of what Christ has done, we make others feel bad about their lives. I don’t believe we should attempt to force, manipulate or use scare tactics to lead others to know—let alone accept and live by—the truth of God’s word. And I don’t believe that in standing up for our values and standards, we should do so in a prideful way.
When we do things the wrong way, we lead people the wrong way. When we fail to put relationship before “being right,” we miss the mark. When our passion for Jesus makes Him out to be a lunatic or someone who saps all fun from life, well, maybe we don’t really know Him.
Never have I seen this more evident than in social media. It’s a platform that can be used for good, to draw others to the truth and yet…it’s so often done nothing more than leave a bad taste in one’s mouth.
Here’s some general examples…
- If you don’t vote for this particular person, then you can’t be a follower of Christ because only a TRUE believer would vote for this particular person.
- That movie you are excited to see is wrong because…and the blanks get filled in with all kinds of Siskel and Ebert “Christian” reviews.
- You’re not a true Christ follower if you believe in the travel ban and enforcing immigration laws…of course, the other side says the same…that you’re not a true Christ follower if you don’t believe in it (see how you sometimes can’t win???)
- The celebrity that just died, well, of course he/she went straight to hell! (and if you don’t believe that, well then hmmm…maybe you’re heading that way, too!)
Honestly, this stuff just makes me cringe. Must we vomit everything we think all over social media? To the point that instead of turning people toward Jesus, we’re turning them away? Because let’s just keep it real…much of what’s spewed is nothing more than opinion. Of course, we can take any verse in the Bible we like and conform it to fit our views. But is this really the way to point others to Jesus?
I don’t know if I voted for the “right” person. I went by what my heart was telling me. Maybe that movie isn’t the best representation of God, but how could we ever really get that right anyway? I love that America is a melting pot but I don’t know if that means we should break laws and not be concerned about protecting our country. And while I hope that celebrity spends eternity in heaven, not only did I not know him personally, I most certainly don’t know his heart.
In a nutshell, there’s so much I don’t know…that I would hate to declare to others what they should know! I’m doing my best at living this life dedicated to Christ. Some days I get it right…where I feel His presence strongly and I’ve done a fairly decent job with doing life. Yet there are other days it feels like He’s far away and I’ve screwed up too much to be forgiven.
What speaks greater to others? The idea that we have this whole Christian living thing figured out and have perfected the art of how it works? Or that we sometimes struggle to do it right and yes, we make mistakes but we have a God who graciously and mercifully forgives?
Maybe it’s time we temper our oftentimes unsolicited thoughts and opinions…that we take it down a notch. Instead, focus on getting to know people—learn what they’re going through and develop a relationship with them. Demonstrate an imperfect life that’s immersed with grace. Be willing to listen to another’s point of view. Show humility. Walk in love. Admit our wrongs. Just be who you are, a sinner that’s been forgiven. Perhaps others will be less likely to cringe in our presence and more likely to catch a glimpse of Jesus.