I've had the pleasure and sometimes not so pleasure of meeting many types of people in my life. I've also been lucky and sometimes not so lucky to meet a lot of Christians. I've met all types of Christians ...the judgmental ones, the scripture reciting ones, the self-righteous ones, the non-church going ones, the major holiday ones, the just trying to get by ones, and so on. There are all different kinds that not only desire, but also strive to fit under the umbrella of what it means to be a Christian.
The road of Christianity is not always easy to live up to, and we often fail at encompassing all that it entails. Therefore, unfortunately, I think it can be quite common for people to view Christians in a negative light. There are many who may go as far as saying...Christians suck!
First, let me start by saying that I don't think Christians suck! I am proud to be a Christian and there's nothing erroneous about it. Other than the fact that, it's real hard. But I don't think that makes it suck.
In fact, I don't think any religion sucks. I don't think Buddhists suck. I don't think Muslims suck. I don't think Jews suck. I don't think Hindus suck! And so on and so on. I don't think religions suck! They give hope! If practiced properly, they promote peace and love. But unfortunately, they're not always practiced properly, but that has nothing to do with the religion itself...it's those who are practicing it, and in some cases, teaching it.
Following that hint, do you know what really sucks?
Another thing that can suck at times...
Life can really, really suck. Just when you think you got her figured out, the mean bitch just dumps all over you. It's true, she's rough! However, she's also amazing! Truly, deeply amazing! An absolute blessing that should be cherished!
But do you understand what you get when you combine two things that at times, suck...life and people? You get a big, giant mess...obviously! And that's what we are...imperfect people trying to navigate our way through the shit storm of life. Some of us (not myself per say) are better at it than others. And, I believe as Christians, our ultimate goal is to help those who struggle instead of forcing them deeper into that struggle.
Which is why I purposely placed two certain words in this article, and if you're a Christian then I'm sure they jumped out at you and caused some mixed feelings...probably something like...
How's this girl writing about being a Christian, but using inappropriate language that is unbecoming to a Christian?
My response to this would be that, you have a very valid point, and I could have probably chosen my words more appropriately; however, this is the whole point I'm writing about. The main reason I believe us Christians get such a bad reputation.
We often have this self-righteous, scripture reciting attitude that supposedly our own sin is less significant than someone else's. We become so wrapped up in how imperfect everyone else is, in order to draw attention away from our own flaws.
Ultimately, my point is...MY flaws are just that...Mine. MY relationship with God is also...Mine. Focus on YOUR relationship and don't worry about anyone else's. Because...
If you die, I or anyone else does not get to go with you, just as you do not get to go with me. Therefore, if you're worrying about my life, or someone else's...don't. I'm the one who has to explain my life to my maker, not you. Worry about what you're going to tell him, because I'm guessing, if you're anything like me, you might have a little explaining to do of your own.
The reason I was inspired to write this was thanks to one of my Facebook friends. He made a very valid post about Christians, and how we as Christians live by a certain code/standard otherwise known as the Bible, yet some completely do things that go against that. Then even worse, "acting" as if we live a holy lifestyle.
Basically, the "holier than thou" perception that many Christians often portray, by judging others for not meeting the standards that we ourselves cannot.
I completely understand this point of view, because it can be a 100 percent true at times. Proclaimed Christians can be the worst kind of hypocritical people. I fully admit that. But more importantly...don't let anyone, or their actions or perceptions, affect your relationship or perception of God.
Lord knows that the devil doesn't show up to your home wearing a red cape and horns. No sir, he's dressed to impress! He's strong, he's out there, and he's most certainly a liar. He catches us when we are at our weakest, starving while he dangles that forbidden fruit over our head. We ALL get caught up at times, and reach for that fruit.
But who are we to determine what fruit is forbidden and what is not? Is this the part where we get to pick and choose which parts of the Bible we should follow and which part we should not?
Let me guess, you're that gentleman who comes to church EVERY Sunday in his nice suit, fancy tie, dressed to impress. You have your wife and kids all looking the part too. Are you that same gentleman I saw at the bar last night trying to pick up any young woman who would bat her eyes your way? Yeah, I thought that was you.
What about you young lady? Are you going to show up to church Sunday morning in last night's party dress, reeking of alcohol? So you mean to tell me, you are not only going out and partying and doing God only knows what else, but you also have the nerve to come into church like nothing happened? Do you think you can do whatever you want throughout the week, and drop in on a Sunday and get cleansed of all your filthy behavior? NO! NO! Just...NO!
Or what about him? Isn't he gay or something? He doesn't belong in church! His life must be full of sin. He's an abomination that has no business in this house of God! Right?!
But you know who's really wrong?...US!
We are sitting here judging these people. Who are we to say that they are living a life of sin? How is that our call to make? We have no idea what their struggles are, what they are going through, what they've been through. We have NO IDEA! And even more, we have no idea how God views their life. Yet we look at them with these disgusted, judgmental eyes, and think that they have a lot of nerve.
But you know who has a lot of nerve?...US!
They are no more of a disgrace than myself or others. Their sin (whatever it may be) is not greater than mine. We are condemning these people for not living up to the standards of God's word, yet sitting here in this pew in our ironed Sunday bests, judging all of them.
"Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye."
Therefore, who am I to pass judgment on a fellow "Christian" or any person for that matter? I'm nobody, I'm a speck! A speck with my own life, my own problems, my own sins.
But I know this is still a concern to many Christians, so the question maybe...what do we do about these, so called, phony Christians leading what "WE" consider to be an alternative life?
We welcome them! They showed up ...they're here! Open your arms as Jesus would and invite them in without judgments.
Do you know how intimidating it can be to step foot in a church?
As an introvert, it is extremely challenging for me. I not only have the fear of judgment, but I also have to partake in social normalcies that are completely awkward and phony to me. Even worse, I feel the need to put on a dress and nice shoes to enter, as I believe I am expected to enter. As I believe others feel I should show a certain respect by being dressed a certain way. However, by doing so, I feel like a giant phony, and I would so love to feel that I could just come as I am. Isn't that what it's supposed to feel like?
So as intimidated as I feel...can you imagine being the young man or young woman who can't afford the nice suit, or the beautiful dress. Or the gay man or woman who has to worry about how they will be perceived or even if they'll be welcomed at all. They have to be careful about choosing an "accepting church" that will welcome their family instead of judge them.
If it's a church full of Christians...shouldn't they ALL be accepting, and encouraging people to come as they are?
Because, although you can afford that fancy suit, and all the other churchgoers may appreciate your snazzy sense of style. Do you really think God cares?
"May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, 6 so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.7 Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you..."
So you see, my fellow Christians, we are all welcome in the eyes of the Lord, and if you close your doors to anyone, then he will close his doors to you.
So open them, and do what he told us to do...PRAY. About everything and for everyone, including ourselves and our own inadequacies.
Pray deeply and ask that we all be led to the Word and do our very best to live by it accurately and fully. Lift everyone up in prayer just as we need to be lifted up in prayer! Love who we unrightfully deem unlovable because he loves us when we're unlovable.
So if you feel me on this one my fellow Christians. Whether you're the scripture reciting one, the self-righteous one, the judgmental one, the non-church going one, the major holiday one, the only on Sunday one, or just the non-believer...then please say this prayer with me anyway. Because the point is, it doesn't matter which "one" you are. You are "one" of the many children of God, and he loves each and every one of us no matter who we are or what we do.
So pray with me, because there is no "one" who is unworthy of his love!
Dear Heavenly Father,
The light of my life, the giver of my salvation, the Father to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Please, I beg you...come into my heart and make me pure again. Make me a follower of your word. Make me a spreader of your Word. Make me a believer of your Word. Help me to make others believe too! Lead me to walk this life in your example, and help me to lift up my brothers and sisters to walk along beside me. You are my strength, my salvation, my everything!
In Jesus name I pray,