When I talk with people who don’t align themselves with a religion, I often ask them what they think about Christians in general. My unofficial count is that above everything else, people see Christians as hypocrites. And in many ways, this description is well-deserved.
A well-known, but often misattributed, quote about Christ and Christians goes, “I like Christ, but do not like Christians.” Too many Christians today are so concerned with the righteousness of the Bible that they miss out on the message of the Bible. Too many Christians go about making the world align with scripture; they ignore the fact that the world is not supposed to align with scripture.
I believe the problem with Christians today is that we have taken it upon ourselves to issue judgements inappropriately. What most people, both Christians and the rest of the world, do not realize that that Christians are called to judge other Christians but not the world. Throughout both Old and New testament, God asks his followers to judge fellow believers but not to judge the world. This is a very broad topic, most of which I will not cover in this entry, but would like to examine what judgement is supposed to entail.
Christ accepted all sinners, regardless of social status or political ideology. He associated with the lower ranks of society, proudly spending time with them. It should be noted that while he associated with sinners, he never sinned with them. In fact, he offered them an alternative. He told them that eternal life could be gained by the likes of them.
A common saying among Christians is “Hate the sin, love the sinner.” I think most people find this a bit offensive, especially the sins of homosexuality (This is for another topic). I think it’s time for Christians to change this to just “Love the sinner.” Yes, Christians are called to hate sin to the same extent that God hates sin. However, Jesus became sin to destroy it’s power. We must understand and accept that the sins of the world no longer have any power.
Christians are not called to be perfect, yet the world expects us to be. However, rather than trying to change the expectation, why don’t we change how we act? Instead of standing on a corner, telling people they are going to hell, let’s hang out with the tax-collectors of our time. Instead of complaining about how the world is going down the sewer, let’s put on our rain slicks and get dirty.
The world is lost. We are not supposed to save it. However, we are to try to bring as many people out as we can. We won’t win everyone’s heart. But we will win more hearts by being more like Christ than being ‘Christians’.