Sometimes, Christians act the same as non-Christians. The non-Christians are just like us! They flip out! They curse! They back stab each other! They're hypocrites!
We have a problem here.
Sarah guest wrote this blog post. She delights herself in the Lord, enjoys writing, and appreciates a good emergency. Check out her blog - A Funny Thing."
Christians are horrible people, me included. Disclaimer: We're not always horrible, but when we get our flesh really going, out the door goes the "saved by grace" mentality and in walks our old self aka: the sinful nature.
I'm guilty of running away when the going gets rough. I'm culpable for saying things I shouldn't, doing things I swore I'd never do. I'm guilty of hurting those closest to me.
And yet, because I boldly proclaim the name of Christ, I have long been under the impression that I can do all of the above (and more!) walking away scot-free, because hey, I'm "Saved".
So what if my neighbor is left emotionally wounded for life? What does it bother me? Can I not hurt you, mistreat you, yell in your face, ignore you? Aren't I entitled to treat you however I darn well please?
Not if I call myself a Christian, I can't.
On the giving end, I've hurt more people than I can count. On the receiving end, my heart has been crushed tenfold. In both instances, apologies have been rare.
A Christian co-worker recently went ape on me. She yelled at me over a simple misunderstanding. She caused such a ruckus, that my boss had to step in, and tell her to "cool it". I can clearly tell you that the insults she hurled at me hurt me far worse than if a non-Christian had yelled them at me. Christians are supposed to be different, but we've lost that mindset.
Over one month later, there has been no resolution. Another co-worker encouraged me to make things right with her, because she apparently feels "remorseful". I did write her a letter (so old fashioned!) explaining what the issue is, in hopes of good old fashioned Christian reconciliation. Hello, silence. Through the encouragement of a fellow Christian co-worker, a meeting was arranged to try and talk this out, in a God glorifying manner. Then it was cancelled, by the co-worker in question. Instead, the silence has returned except for a few critical, cutting remarks here and there.
On the opposite end, in a similar situation back in May, (you'd think my job is rough, but it's really rather great), another misunderstanding occurred with a non-Christian co-worker. It was, in short, awful. She did however, apologize. Then she ignored me for three months straight. However, through some recent talks, and re-opening the doors of communication, we are once more talking and working in peace and harmony. I can't guarantee it'll last forever, but at least there's some hope here.
Christians run away whenever a difficult issue is brought up. Instead of resolution, we gossip, we say things we ought not to, and then off to the hills we run, deleting people off of Facebook. (Come on now, it can't be just me doing that, right?) We erase people from our lives, never talking to them again.
Non-Christians have treated me with a kindness that continually floors me. I have received sincere apologies when needed and when not required, the doors of communication seem to always be open, should an issue need to be resolved. Non-Christians are often kinder, receptive, and are far less judgmental than those who claim to be followers of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Yeah, I said it.
Because it's true.
What's up with that? Second disclaimer: No, I am not saying that every Christian in the Church is a jerk. This is merely a personal observation. In my time, I have also met some stellar Believers in the Lord who live out Colossians 3:12-14)
We are called to love our enemies and to pray for those who persecute us. Sometimes fellow Christians can be our enemy. How then are we to treat them?
Lest you think I am preaching without taking action, I took time before publishing this post to get right before the Lord. And boy was the Lord active in my heart and my life. Through prayer, people of the past came to mind. I have lived a life of running away when I don't want to deal with a person any longer. I have lived a life of being overly critical and confrontational. As a result, I have thrown away friendships because quite simply, I didn't want to work through problems. I rationalized that it was better to jump ship, always placing my neighbor in the wrong and justifying all of my actions. Once the Lord opened my eyes to this fact, my heart was (is) deeply grieved. I have hurt a lot of people in my life.
It is an awkward thing, sending apology emails to people you haven't spoken to for months, or even years. But I couldn't deny that this is what the Lord was calling me to do. I spent sleepless nights, and during my waking hours, was plagued with my former actions, hearing, feeling, knowing what the Lord was asking me to do. There was no denying it. Thankfully, the return answers were welcoming, gracious.
As a result of my past, I have lived a very lonely life, full of displeasure, heartache, bitterness and remorse. But once I learned to surrender my past to the Holy One, trading in my sordid past for a clean slate, repenting of sins past and making things right before God and man, my heart was refreshed. My heart was changed. I am renewed in Christ. But this change only came about this year. Prior to this, I had many wonderful times of fellowship with the Lord, but my relationship with Him would ebb and flow depending on the surrounding circumstances in my life. This change was not through anything that I was capable of, no; the change was through my Lord and my Savior Jesus Christ. Through His saving grace, His sinless life on earth, death on the cross for my sins, and resurrection make possible this change within me.
This serves as a public confession because for some reason, people think that I am a good person. Scripture states the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked: who can know it? I alone am not good, but Christ who dwells within me is good.
This change does not mean my life was immediately peachy. There are still people from my past that our relationship is permanently severed, some through my own doing, others not. With these people, there is no reconciliation. And in return, there is an empty space. Where there should be unity, there is discord. Where there should be peace, there is disharmony. The scar that is left is a gaping reminder of how fallen of a world we truly live in.
Watch how you treat people, Christian or non-Christian. Someone close to me is going through a situation with a believer that has gone from bad to worse over the months. This believer will soon be setting out to start a new life, quite possibly never to return to their roots. The heartache that is left because of miscommunication and an unwillingness to resolve the issue is palpable.
There are many Christians who will not humble themselves before the Lord and reconcile with others. Christians who will not forgive, nor seek forgiveness. Christians who refuse to replace hard-heartedness with tenderness. Christians who refuse to surrender.
Issues like this occur daily, with no resolution, because of a prideful heart, a lack of humility and a lack of humbleness. If the same Spirit lives within Christians, ought we not approach the throne of grace asking the Lord to reveal to us those we have sinned against? What about conviction? What about grace? What about apologizing?
Show Christ to the non-Christians in your life. Better yet, Show Christ to the Christians in your life. What kind of messed up mindset have we gotten ourselves into that we can treat each other however we feel like? When did it become cool to conform to the pattern of this world? Romans 12:2 speaks of transformation and subsequently learning the good, pleasing and perfect will of the Father.
Oh friends, we have a serious problem.
"For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other." Galatians 5:15
Photo by: Samantha Burko