One of Those Christians

I guess something that’s been on my mind lately is how everyone else perceives Christians.  Maybe that was started by some quack out there saying the world was going to end on this date, then on this date, and now on this date.  Does the world need any more reasons to think that we’re nuts?
And when you think about it, how many of us really practice what we preach?  We talk about love, compassion, and joy yet we’re the ones laying on our horns when the person in front of us isn’t going fast enough.  We drive nice cars, live in fancy houses, and turn up our noses at those who don’t have what we do.  Surely if they followed God, they would have these things too.  How messed up of a theology is that?  And though many of us wouldn’t actually say that is what we believe, actions speak louder than words.
You see, today I spent quite a while talking to a lady who has every reason in the world to be angry at Christians.  And I understand that mentality that many people who spend a lot of time in the church can have.  Working in Compassionate Ministries can make a person really cynical if they don’t stay close to Jesus.  Sure, there are a lot of people working the system, but it’s not like they aren’t real people.  I have to stop and tell myself that every person that walks in my door is loved extravagantly by God, and no matter what their intentions are in coming, what they really need is Him.  The truth of the matter is, we’re all messed up, and we all need a Savior.  Sometimes we forget.  Sometimes we get so comfortable in our own daily lives that we forget there are hurting people outside of ourselves.  We all know that we struggle.  However, can you imagine what it would be like to struggle and not have God?
I think about some of the people that have been on my heart lately.  A lot of these people don’t know God, and quite frankly are pretty turned off by the whole idea.  I had friends texting me asking me if I survived the rapture, and telling me they were thankful I am still here.  All they saw from this “grand event” that was supposed to bring people to Christ was the fury of God’s judgment.
I was talking to a friend of mine tonight and he was telling me that something that turns him off is the people that try to beat you over the head with the Bible.  Honestly, I can’t stand that about Christians either.  Sometimes we just assume by looking at someone that we know what’s going on in his life.  Would you listen to someone who tells you what to believe before they know your story?  I wouldn’t.  There’s no way I’d believe them.  Yet we assume that people should just accept what we are saying anyway, because we’re right.  It’s cliché, but people really don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care, or even take it one step further to how much what you believe affects the joy you live in.  You can have perfect theology, but until people see how that matters in your life (and also in theirs), what’s the point?  If life is only about believing facts and following rules, well, that stinks.
And to so many people, Christianity is a label.  Yeah, I’m a Christian.  Most of the “Christians” I’ve met make me want to ask, “What’s the point?”  Yeah, Christianity is a religion, and a religion can’t save you any more than a sock can.  I gave up on religion.  Am I religious?  No, and I cringe at the thought.  But I can tell you that I’m in love.
It’s true that life is about a relationship with God, but that sounds like such a weird concept to people who have only seen Bible-thumping, rule following, or label wearing Christians.  In fact, I don’t know how it could make any sense to someone who hasn’t actually seen someone live it out.  You can talk about concepts until the day is done, but until you truly KNOW God, you can’t fully understand.  And until you truly KNOW someone who KNOWS God, you have no idea what you’re missing.  You know something is, but it’s only through our lives that it makes sense at all.
And Christians are judgmental.  Honestly, I don’t think God’s wrath is half as bad as ours sometimes.  Granted, eternity is something we need to take seriously, because hell is a real place.  However, God isn’t like we portray sometimes as being vengeful and watching our every move just waiting for us to mess up.  That’s what I got the feeling that a lot of my friends thought was going to happen on May 21st.  The world was going to end and everyone was going to face God’s wrath.  You know what the good news is?  GOD LOVES US.  The Bible clearly says that He doesn’t wish for anyone to live without Him.  I think that God’s justice (or whatever you what to call it) probably saddens Him more than it saddens us.  It’s like watching your daughter go and choose a lifestyle that you know will bring her pain and heartache.  I don’t think that God becomes angry at us when we sin or do things that separate us from Him…I think He grows very sad.  His justice still has to be satisfied, and we still have to receive the consequences of our decision to reject Him, but I’m sure it literally breaks His heart in the process.
I don’t think it’s very hard to get the picture of how Christians are viewed in our society.  I’m pretty ashamed of it actually.  I don’t want to be like that.  You know what I want the world to know?  This God I know is real, and He has made a real difference in my life.  I’ve been through a lot of stuff, and through most of it, God was all I had.  He has never disappointed me.  Sometimes He has not responded the way that I wanted Him to, but I usually realize later that I had no idea what I was praying for anyway.  My life is not perfect by any means, and I’m still growing and changing.  God’s still working on me every day.  However, I have discovered the ultimate joy of living:  in relationship with God.  Call me weird.  I don’t care.
I want to be one of those Christians that really cares about everyone, and looks at the imperfections in myself before looking at the imperfections of others.  I want to live my life out of the love I have for God, and serve others without an ulterior motive in mind.  I don’t want to be friends with someone just for the intent of “converting them.”  I want to love people because God loves them.  I want to live my life for others, instead of living my life for myself.
There’s this song that I really like…the lyrics really say what I want to say.  It’s called “Could You Believe” by Twila Paris.  Here are the lyrics:
He was a friend to sinners
He was a gentle man
Beautiful, humble master plan
His voice could pierce the darkness
Quiet an angry sea
I hear Him saying follow me
I look in your eyes and I tell you these things
But somehow I know that it’s hard to believe
Could you believe if I really was like Him
If I lived all the words that I said
If for a change I would kneel down before you
And serve you instead
Could you believe
He was the Lamb of mercy
Undying hope of men
Waiting for love to come again
He is the light of heaven
Radiant Prince of peace
I Hear him saying, “Follow Me”
I look in your eyes and I tell you these things
But somehow I know that it’s hard to believe
Could you believe if I carried my own cross
If I saw that the children were fed
If for a moment I held my opinion
And quietly led Could you believe
I am meant to be a pure reflection of the truth
So above it all I pray that I will not obscure the view
Could you believe if I stood here transparent
And through me you could look in His eyes
Could you believe if you saw right inside me
and there was no disguise
Could you believe if I was really like him
If I lived all the words that I said
If it was clear that I held in my heart
What I know in my head
Could you believe, could you believe
Looking at me, could you believe
Could you believe?
You know what I want to be more than anything?  Genuine.  When my friends that don’t believe in God see me, I don’t want them to feel like they have to hold back who they are because “I’m a Christian.”  If they never come to love God, I want them to at least have experienced Him by being around me.  God doesn’t set out to judge them or “send them to hell.”  He desires for them to know Him and love Him too.  That should be the attitude that I have toward them as well.  I want my friends to know me as real.  That’s the kind of Christian I want to be.

About the author chelseamaxine

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