One of the reasons Christianity gets such a bad rap…
August 3, 2015
You’ve heard the joke: a policeman pulls a driver over and takes them into custody. After a few hours at the jailhouse, the officer releases the individual with an apology and an explanation: “when I heard you lean on the horn, and saw you flip that other driver off and curse them, and then saw the fish emblem and Jesus is Lord bumper stickers, I thought you must have stolen the car.”
Do we justify that kind of behavior by saying, “I’m not perfect, but I’m forgiven,” and then make no effort to live more perfectly, just doing things that need to be forgiven instead?
Christians have an example before them of the kind of behavior that is expected, in Christ Jesus himself. He set the standard, and he set it very high. And he accepted no excuses for not measuring up. How many times did he chastise his disciples and the Pharisees, both who should have known better, for not “getting” it? And yet, he tenderly, patiently, and persistently encouraged his disciples to measure up. His encouragement of the Pharisees was of a different sort, but no less persistent, even compassionate: if he could only awaken them to their hypocrisy he could show them the Kingdom of Heaven. And he wanted everyone to know the Kingdom of Heaven.
As Christians, we want everyone to know the Kingdom of Heaven too. That’s why it’s so important to be an example of it, to point the way as tenderly and patiently and persistently as he did, through kindness and affection and humility. And healing. What better way is there to let others know how awesome it is?
Here’s a step you can take right now. Ask yourself if the things you post on Facebook actually reflect your Christianity. Are they demeaning of anyone? Of a political party, politician, or celebrity? Or race or gender or culture? Are you willing to give them up in order to more rightly influence the world? That doesn’t mean you have to flood Facebook with Scripture. Just don’t flood it with unkindness.
Jesus said, “You will know my disciples because they love one another.” (John 13:35) Let’s show the world that we know what that means and then live as if we agree with it.
Melissa Hayden is a Christian Science practitioner in Salem, OR. You can find more information and additional articles at this link. If you like what you’re reading, click the “add me” button.