It's true. I'm proud to be a Christian, represent Jesus Christ and proclaim the gospel that has forever transposed my life.
But while I'm all "for" Christianity and the progression of the gospel, I can honestly say that the way some Christians act breaks my heart. It's something that keeps me up at night. This is my struggle.
I'm not really sure what it derives from. Maybe it's the "God hates fags" picket signs being somehow justified by interpretation of biblical text, or the extreme judgment that comes from most self-proclaimed cross bearers when someone in the public eye fails.
Regardless, I have a really hard time liking some Christians. I sometimes wonder, "God, why do you allow these people to represent you?"
I often wonder why pastors choose to bash the failures of public figures and use them as examples for sermon illustrations, or why Christian bloggers think it's okay to spew personalized hatred towards someone for sake of clicks. Or better yet, why some churches find themselves bashing one another all because, "they're just not like us."
I understand we're all entitled to an opinion, but that doesn't mean our opinions have to be shared with cruelty and rashness. It can all be done in love and sincerity. And while I understand that not all Christians have chosen to act this way, a great percentage of them do. It's disheartening. It's a tiny flame that spreads like a wildfire.
- Don't like the way "that church" worships? That's fine, but don't be cruel and think your church is better because of it.
- Your congregation prefers exegetical teaching as opposed to topical? Wonderful, but keep your judgments aside when noticing a church who does things differently. They're reaching a different crowd.
- Have you chosen a life that does not include the consumption of alcohol? That's very honorable of you, but don't be arrogant enough to proclaim that someone who drinks alcohol is going to hell.
- Don't like tattoos? More power to you, but don't you wave your finger at someone and tell them that they're an abomination to God because of their decision to ink their skin.
- Have you chosen to abstain from prescription medication? That's your decision, but keep your judgment of one's true faith if someone who is suffering from depression decides to seek medication from a licensed psychiatrist.
- Displeased with the failures of others? You're allowed to be. But please don't take to social media and display your judgment and distaste as if you and I are any better. Everybody makes mistakes. That's why Jesus died on the cross.
When I read the Bible, the concept of love and grace is prevalent. But while I see these truths to be as clear as the moon in a cloudless night sky, I guess some see otherwise.
Once again, I'm proud to be a Christian but I cannot say I like the way all of them act. I would be the first to lay down my life for the One who laid down his, but that doesn't mean I won't be honest about my frustration towards some of Jesus' personal advocates. It breaks my heart. It should break yours too.
The image of love-bearing is something we cannot ignore as a followers of Jesus. And regardless of how one may want to justify their ill-thought words and actions, my Bible is pretty clear on the idea of loving.
In fact, depending on what version of the Bible you prefer, the word "love" can be found anywhere between 250 to 550 times. That's impressive. And let's not forget the declaration to love our enemies found in Luke 6:35: "But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return. Then your reward will be great, and you will be the sons of the Highest. For He is kind to the unthankful and the evil."
Our job as followers of Jesus is to reflect an image of love—the same love Jesus showcased on a splintered plank of wood known as the cross. I'm not ignorant enough to believe Christians should be loved by all people—the Bible tells us this wouldn't be the case if we are truly living out our God-given calling.
Without love we are meaningless. Without love we are without Jesus. We must understand that the gospel without love isn't truly the gospel at all. Jesus himself is the image we must seek to reflect, and our mission is to love because He first loved us.
We as Christians must learn to exude a consequential image of God's love through every facet of our lives. It has the power to change the world.
Jarrid Wilson is a husband, dad, pastor, best-selling author and inspirational blogger. His articles have been viewed by millions, showcased on some of today's hottest talk shows and featured on national news stations worldwide. He is a dynamic speaker whose outside-the-box perspectives have gained him national recognition from some of today's most influential Christian leaders and pastors. His book, Jesus Swagger, is now available worldwide.
For the original article, visit jarridwilson.com.
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