Have you ever wondered why America seems to be more against Christians and Christianity these days? We see it in the news, we hear it in church, we see and hear about it on Christian TV and radio; everyday, there seems to be another group or segment within our society that is challenging Christian beliefs, with a determination to snuff out all the traditions of Christianity. They call us haters, hypocrites and judgers.
Well, I want to raise the idea that maybe - just maybe - these folks just might - just maybe - have a point…
Let’s be honest about it. Something has gone hay-wire in the way the rest of the world sees us. I think that it’s time that we stop taking the easy road by blaming simply blaming society for how they feel about us. Instead, maybe it’s time that we take a closer, more honest look at ourselves.
Most people truly long to leave a positive impact on this planet. In order to do that, we must put ourselves in society’s shoes and look at how In response to society’s anger, we as Christians have a tendency to get angry right back at them. We choose to picket. We choose to call out our society’s immoral conduct, pointing out how bad they are. We choose to stand our ground by deciding that we must separate ourselves from these “sinners”, because they don’t behave the way we do. We choose to name-call in return because they attack us and call us names.
When it comes down to it, I think that in general, society too often sees Christians as just plain ‘ole mean. And to coin a phrase from Dr. Phil, I must ask the question: “How’s that working for us?”
All I can say is, no wonder they don’t like us.
Jesus was called a friend to sinners (Matthew 11:19). Instead of focusing in on their immoral behavior making sure they understood just how how bad they were, He instead chose to spend time with them and simply love them.
For example, when Jesus visited with Zacchaeus, a tax collector whom the church considered a sinner, nowhere does it mention that Jesus gave Zacchaeus a sermon about behavior modification. Instead, Jesus simply spent time with Him and told the man about Himself. As a result, not only did this man have an entire spiritual transformation through Jesus, but he also vowed to give back all that he had ever stolen, and more (Luke 19:2-10)!
Let’s consider the woman who was caught in adultery. As the angry crowd was ready to hurl stones at her until she was dead (these were church folks with rocks in their hands, by the way), Jesus reminded them that there was not a one of them who didn’t have sin in their own lives. Realizing that they did not qualify to condemn her, she found herself standing before the one person who was qualified to condemn her - Jesus. But instead of judging her, he said, “Neither do I condemn you;” And because she was at that moment freed of condemnation from Jesus, the ultimate Judge, she was then empowered to do what He said to her next; “go and sin no more” (John 8:3-11). That’s what Grace (Jesus) is really all about!
Even at the cross, Jesus chose to love and forgive those who were involved in killing Him, even as they hurled insults at Him while he bled to death on the cross (Luke 23:34).
My fellow Christians, let’s take our cues from Jesus. He didn’t walk around reminding people of how bad they are and how desperately they need to change their lives. The truth is, people are very conscious of their sins, whether they admit it or not. The last thing they want is someone in their face pointing out the obvious, making them feel even worse about themselves.
Jesus gave us two simple commandments (which are to replace the original 10, by the way). They are: 1) To believe in Him, and 2) To love others as He has loved us (John 15:12). That means, to love and forgive others with unconditional grace, no matter what they have done, or what they are currently doing.
It’s time to introduce grace back into the church. The true gospel is the "almost-too-good-to-be-true" Good News that we have received grace from God, by believing in His Son Jesus. No matter who you are or what you’ve done, or what you are currently DOING - God’s not mad at you anymore. He just wants you to believe that Jesus made a way for you to be free from condemnation, guilt and shame. Once you truly receive that, you can then have peace with God, and eventually become free from any sin that might have hold of you.
As Christians, let’s make up our minds that we’re going to stop being angry at society. Let’s just focus on the two commandments that Jesus gave us, and share with everyone just how amazing He is. “You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.”, after all (Charlaine Harris).
I’ll bet that if we could do just those things, we would no longer find ourselves being attacked by society. Instead, we could finally be the light of the world, like we’re supposed to be.