Friday, August 16, 2013

Christians are Horrible People

I recently saw a page in a magazine dedicated to how the movie stars are just like us common people. They walk their dog! They drink coffee! They eat food! They go out in sweat pants!

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?

No.

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

9 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and how the Lord is working in your life Sarah. You have a great gift for writing and I think your call to live a life that reflects Christ more clearly is one we all need to hear.

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  2. Oh Little Sarah! How you amaze me every time you open your mouth and speak with that beautiful heart of yours!! Things will get better, I hope.. I secretly pray for you and the situation you're in, even though I'm bad at it.. You're cherished, loved and adored by those that matter. Me and my boy for two! ;)
    xo

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  3. In my experience, some of the kindest and most compassionate people I have met are not religious. I genuinely think that these people not only have a better sense of self, but are more likely to act on their own feelings because they are in the everyday habit of doing so, that is, they are good people because they feel the inherent need, deep down, to be good people (or in your situation to work out a resolution to a work conflict). I have also met many wonderful Christians of course, but so often there is that subtle undertone of inclusion/exclusion. It's unfortunate that there has to be a "in or out" mentality and that people who choose to be good of their own accord are viewed as outside the club. Your very post advocates showing Christ to non-Christians, and in doing so inherently presumes that there is something missing from these people's lives... that they are outside of the club and need to be brought in. The great irony is that ideologies like these splinter and separate humanity along arbitrary lines rather than unify. The human race is sorely in need of a little unification these days.

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    1. Sorry, I have to reply to this. The cornerstone of Christianity is a fallen world, and redemption comes from outside of humanity, there is and never has been any redemption from it. Christ was the sacrificial lamb, a human sacrifice that was unblemished before God (sin curse is passed via the male lineage in Hebrew tradition. It is from this stand point so-called "Christians" come from. There is a definite line between those following religion, or those following the supernatural in a group known as the Church and/or body. The unfortunate side of this is that there is a definite in or out. You admit in reality you are a horrible person and in need of a Savior; or you are not, in which case you're out. No ifs or maybes. The early members of the faith, constantly had problems, St. Paul addresses this constantly throughout the New Testament, but there is a constant work in progress sign upon every member of the Faith. Christianity has never been about the ability of a person to do good things, but the ability for a supernatural influence so transforming a persons life that it blows all preconceptions about that person's life out of the water. I write this to the one posting about divisiveness. Christianity in the modern concept of itself, as Sarah has honestly told, about is fallen far from the Faith. Unification was never the point of Christianity, it is a wedge driven into the very heart of a broken world. And not of humankinds' power, but Jehovah's to bring redemption to an otherwise lost cause.
      - Flem
      P.S. - Sarah brilliant post by the way.

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    2. Just so we are clear here- Christianity views the world as an utterly hopeless, lost cause and has no interest in promoting compassion, kindness or other good works? "Christianity has never been about the ability of a person to do good things..." I am sorry but there is something very, very wrong with this picture, and to be frank it's a little sad. The measure of a person is to leave this world a better world than they found it. It terrifies me that so many people buy into an ideology that promotes so much division and negativity- it's a self-fulfilling prophecy on the largest scale. While you may view the world as a lost cause and have resigned yourself to be okay with that because of your faith, many work for the betterment of others on a daily basis- regardless of their religious affiliations. Again, to each their own and I would never presume to tell someone else how to live their life (unlike many Christians I have met), but really, the universal truths of love and compassion are not contingent upon an external force, they are tools intrinsic to humanity that we can utilize to build a better world. Why not try it?

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    3. Excellent post Sarah. I applaud you. Unfortunately, The more shallow and empty a person is, the less willing they are to listen to godly counsel; whereas, the truly wise are glad to learn from any who can correct and instruct. The less a person knows, as a rule, the more they think they know. The more a person really does know, the more they realize their ignorance and their limitations. Hence the value of counsel and help from those who seek to walk with God, and to be exercised by His word. Reproof will only be wasted on the scorner. He/she will take delight in holding up to ridicule all who, actuated by the purest of motives, endeavor to turn him/her from his/her folly.

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    4. Thank you for taking the time to interact with this post. Before we say anything else, what we need to understand about Christianity is that it is both inherently exclusive and inclusive. Let me explain.

      It is exclusive because Jesus himself said in John 14:6, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." We see this same message repeated over and over again throughout the New Testament by Jesus and his disciples. Acts 4:12 says about Jesus, "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved." This means that Jesus is God and those who reject him as such have excluded themselves from eternal life. We are only saved by the grace of God through Jesus, and to ask us to change that message is to ask us to deny Jesus.

      But I would also point out that Christianity is also the most inclusive religion in the world. It is far more inclusive than any other world religion, political organization, or country in existence. The book of Revelation tells us that at the end of time we will see many peoples from all around the globe fully united, not in some sense of universal personhood or humanity, but as they worship Jesus.

      Revelation 7:9-10 says, "After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”

      Although this final global worship service has not yet happened, we can still see all around the world Christians meeting every Sunday to worship Jesus. They are from all sorts of tribes and nations and languages. The global church isn't perfect but is certainly more united and diverse than any other movement or ideology.

      Christianity is exclusive in that it requires faith in Jesus Christ for eternal life and in him alone. And yet it is inclusive as it offers this message to the whole world, and will ultimately bring together a far more diverse body of people than any other person or thing can. Whether you exclude yourself from this message of hope or respond in faith, and thus become globally welcomed into the family of God, is your choice.

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    5. Hello all,
      Thank you for taking the time to read and respond to this post! Does my heart good!

      What does it mean to be a Christian and why on earth do we appear like we're part of some club and if you're not "in" you don't belong?

      The Bible says that if you are without the Holy Spirit, that is, if you are not a Christian (I use this term loosely), then everything I have written, and everything you read and hear about Christians comes across as foolishness. (1 Corinthians 2:14). You simply cannot understand what I am writing about fully without being Born Again. Does that make me better than you? No. Does that change how I feel about you? Absolutely not. As a Christian, my goal in life is to know God, love God and serve God.

      My desire is to show everyone (Christian and non-Christian) through my actions, and my words who Christ is and for them to see Him through me. I am a mere vessel. I alone am not good. It is Christ in me who is good, and who has changed me. Without knowing the love of Christ, without submitting your life to Him, you are indeed missing something. It is not a club, but it is life changing. You, your family, friends, me, the whole world are sinners. We all have sinned; there is no other way around it. You are not good, and nothing you can do will make you good. To this day, I am still a sinner. Being a Christian doesn't make me perfect. I still say mean things, I still fail. But now, because of my relationship with Jesus Christ, who died in my place, I am redeemed. I come to Him, repenting of my sins and He forgives, just as He willingly forgives you; all you have to do is ask and accept His gift of life.

      My dear Anonymous friends, Christ died on the cross for your sins. God loved you so much that He sent His son for you, to live a life on earth, sinless, yet fully God and fully man. And as He died on that cross, He took upon Himself your sins; the sins of your past, present and future. With that death, it now was possible to live fully restored as God intended. But the message of the Gospel doesn't end with Christ's death. No, He rose again! He came back from the dead. That's what makes being a Born Again Christian different. We're not works oriented (meaning: If I do enough "good" things, that'll get me into Heaven!) we don't follow a false God, and we don't claim to be better than the rest of the world. We are all fallen sinners in need of a Savior, and you are utterly hopeless, if you do not place your faith in the saving life of Christ.

      "In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace." Ephesians 1:7

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    6. Thanks for a great post Sarah. Many good Scripture verses and a great, well thought out, reply.

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