Bigot. Racist. Homophobic. Hateful. Supremacist. Hypocrite. Fake.
If I were to ask someone who is not a Christ follower what word they would use to describe Christians, it is likely that one of the above words would be on their list.
As a Christian, these words obviously frustrate me. How could anyone view me and people like me in this way just because of our religion? I have never felt above anyone who didn’t believe what I believe. I have never considered myself sinless or intolerable of others. However, once I was able to take my personal feelings out of the equation, I was able to see exactly what others were seeing. Sadly, they aren’t wrong.
First, let me clarify that not everyone who is a Christian is a hypocrite, intolerable, or any of those other awful NAMES LISTED. There are plenty of people that truly follow what Jesus teaches in this world. However, it seems that Christians overall have missed their purpose, including me.
It appears we have turned our faith into something that looks more like a hobby than a lifestyle. We toss our 5% effort in on Sunday morning and walk away for the rest of the week as if God only exists inside that building. We tend to look down on those who show their sin on the surface as though our hidden sins are any less significant. We rarely lend a hand when we see a stranger in need, let alone our own family and friends. We begrudgingly tithe, if even at all. Mission trips have become our boasting place. We see the need for change and are motivated to do something about it while we are there but once we come home the fire that was lit in our souls burns out. Ultimately, we end up putting on our rose-colored glasses and continue with the life we were living before. Thus, only using our trip to a foreign land as a bonus chip to be played in a round of religious comparisons.
What this proves is that our hearts are off. We are the problem. Our culture hasn’t changed, we have. We have forgotten what the mission and it isn’t solely spreading the Word to those who haven’t heard it, it is being identified as a Christian and living in likeness to Christ so that others will see His love through us.
I heard a lyric the other day that really stood out to me. “Christian by identity, not by mission.” Exactly how this artist meant this lyric to be interpreted, I’m not sure. But what I heard in this song was that having the identity of a Christian is supposed to be our main mission. We are to be Christ followers first and everything else second. We can go into any community and start preaching and passing out bibles, but if we behave in a way that is not in line with the Word of God, we are sabotaging the mission we were sent here to do. Our example is the biggest testimony we have. It’s not words, it’s actions. Our mission is our identity as a Christian. We must change the narrative and behave like Christ intended us to.
Often the people that need Christ the most are sitting in the cubicle next to you. They are the cashiers and the waiters, the lawyers, doctors, and even our own neighbors. They are the ones that know of our God but don’t often see Him glorified through us.
Are we perfect? No. Will we still fall sometimes? You bet. However, if we continue loving people, they won’t see a hypocrite or a bigot anymore. They will see someone striving to make their lives and others around them better. They will witness integrity, grace, and humility when we face adversity or difficult situations. They will see Christ in our hearts instead of just hearing judgements bellow from our mouths. Allowing others to feel the love of Jesus through our actions should be our mission.
Jesus came and loved people. He taught them with compassion, empathy, and patience. He took interest in their lives and asked them questions even though he already knew the answer. He sought out the ones who were lost. No one was disgusting, deplorable, or un-savable in Jesus’ eyes. They shouldn’t be in ours either.
When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him (Jesus) eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: ‘Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?’ On hearing this, Jesus said to them, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners. Mark 2:13-17
This is what Christianity should look like. We are to be the salt of the earth! Why are we sitting back and screaming our opinions instead of going out and helping people? Why are we so focused on changing someone’s mind rather than changing someone’s heart? Why would anyone want to be a Christian if what they see is so undesirable? It’s like trying to sell a product to someone that you don’t even use yourself. No one will believe how incredibly life changing being a follower of Christ is unless they see it first-hand. People will never understand the magnitude of God’s love and the significance of Jesus’ death on the cross, if we can’t even show them a fraction of His kindness and grace.
Our identity is the mission. Go and be disciples to all people. Loving others as Christ loves us.
“Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 11:1
Hello, my name is Danielle Wayman. I am married to my college sweetheart and have three beautiful children. I currently stay home with my youngest child who is definitely ‘all boy’. I recently began blogging in order to encourage other moms with active boys like mine but soon realized that God was calling me to encourage and inspire moms of all ages and talk about issues we all struggle with. So here I am, writing and hoping to reach the one Mom who may be having a rough time. Praying for God to use my words to bring a little sunshine to her day.
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