Callous: Showing or having an insensitive and cruel disregard for others (Oxford Dictionaries).
I’ll cut to the chase – I’ve been sick to my stomach for quite a while when I think about some of those that wear the same badge I do: “Christian”.
It feels awkward to say that because I know God is showing up in amazing ways all around the world through those who have been captivated and transformed by His love. I also know the primary contributor to my position of frustration and nausea, Christian’s posts on social media sites like Facebook and Instagram. I knew I couldn’t be alone, so I messaged a few people at random and asked them this simple question: “What do you think of when you hear the word “Christian”? Here are three of the responses:
“Even though I’m not a religious person and I was brought up Catholic, The life of Jesus was always my favorite topic. It was the only topic that made sense to me in the Religion class! So when I hear the word Christian, I think of a wonderful man, who was ahead of his time. He was like the kind of “Politician” we need these days! He led by example, he was humble and simple, true to his word and loved every creation of the world.. He is the roll model we need and when I hear the word Christian I think of a person who wants to follow his way of life… I am Christian in a way, I try to be a good person like he was…”
“When I hear the word Christian I honestly think things that I probably shouldn’t… Having grown up in a Christian home I was taught about how to be the “right kind of Christian”. However along the way my friends and peers who are non believers have flooded my mind with all they’re negative thoughts and opinions of Christianity. Christians have developed this bad wrap for being judgmental, hypocritical, rude and self righteous. And let me say, i have definitely been one of those kinds of “Christians”. Because being a Christian comes with this negative connotation I sometimes feel ashamed to say I’m a Christian. I know in my heart that the most effective way to share Christ is through being kind, and non judgmental. I try to share Christ through setting a godly example and hoping people notice. But to answer your original question my first thoughts when I hear the word Christian are not these things, they’re the bad character traits people associate Christians with. Weird. I never really realized that. Hah.”
“I may not agree with everything you write I love your courage and appreciate your honesty! You are a great example of what I think a Christian should embody! Non judgmental love of all people despite their background, beliefs or practices. You my dear seem to me to be such a pure bright light in the world and your joy and happiness is contagious! Please don’t let life change this or embitter you. I however have mixed feelings about the word Christian. I don’t know how much you know about my childhood, but some very controlling brain washing people hurt me and separated me from my dear misled family in the name of Christianity. By my own choice, knowing full well I would lose my family and everything I knew and loved I took the leap into the big world. Since then I have been very shy of organized religion… I believe the Bible along with other religions’ books have some important moral teachings. Beyond that I am still searching for answers and for what I believe in. I have met wonderful Christians along my path, you included, and they uphold the positive connotation of Christian for me. I wish I was not so judged by many so-called Christians throughout my life in the name of God. It has slightly embittered me.”
Now, unplug your ears and open your eyes. Something is not right.
When I say, “something is not right”, I am not talking about what Katy Perry, Beyoncé, and Kim Kardashian are doing or how Obama has led our country. I am not referring to so-and-so’s “gay agenda” or Fifty Shades of Grey.
When I say something is not right, I am talking about myself. I am talking about the people who wear the badge that makes them representatives of the Man spoken of in response A; the most holy, faithful, kind, generous, gracious, humble, strong, powerful, beautiful, compassionate, and righteous Man that has ever walked this earth.
As response A said, Christians want to be like Him… But response B and C begs me to shout, “why are we not known for actually being like Him? We have no excuse! He extended His body on the cross so that we can live like He did! So that, by grace, all the world would know Him and be transformed by His goodness, kindness and love!”
Something has to change.
I propose, that behind each celebrity, president, and author that we see as a problem, is the greater brokenness that we have yet to catch on to- Christians not living and loving like Jesus Christ. I’m convinced, Fifty Shades of Grey would never have been written if, even just for the last ten years, the body of Christ actually lived for justice and purity the way Jesus did when He walked this earth. Not in a judgmental way – but in a ridiculously loving and powerful way that made a tangible difference on this earth. Or what about this, would there be an audience for the movie if every one who claimed to be a Christian actually loved all people into their God breathed identity, starting with the person next to them.
Something has to change. We – The Church – need Jesus.
Thankfully, we are in this thing together, with His goodness and faithfulness constantly pursuing us! We are on a journey of surrendering, loving, and living a Holy Spirit filled life… But we must stop acting like we know it all, like it is them and us. We are all created for love, to be known and to know Him and one another. One of our many problems is that we have stopped getting to know those that are “different” to us. And in that place, we have stopped seeing one another as Christ sees us. We have let fear of sin cloud our vision, our mission, to love [period]
It is time we start talking again. We’ve got to admit that we don’t have it all together. But most importantly, we need to do as He did. We need to lay our lives down for the person beside us (at home, at church, in the grocery store, on the street…). The time has come to be shaken to the point of action as we confront the fact that we were put on this earth to make it look like heaven, not to survive our way through until we go to heaven.
I love you guys, I really do.
My plea is this: start talking to those around you. Chances are, one of our brothers or sisters in Christ have done some damage. Like all three responses have made clear, we’ve missed the point of being a Christian – releasing the Kingdom of God in love and power, everyday and everywhere.
What does that look like? Well, that’s a loaded question, but how about we bring back those “WWJD?” bracelets? It’s actually quite simple, Jesus did what He saw the Father doing… Do you see the Father saying or doing what you’re about to say or do?
…A good starting place would be to get out there – apologize – and love!
“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not!
How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?
Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?
Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father,
even so we also should walk in newness of life.
For if we have been united together in the likness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection,
know this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.