What is the problem with Christians???!!! We’re human, that’s what. We are fallible and liable to err. Meaning we are not God; we are not omniscient (all-knowing), omnipresent (present everywhere at the same time) nor omnipotent (all-powerful).
This post is not intended to come across judgmental or harsh in attitude, but my intention is that it stands as an appeal for all of us Christians to remember who we are fundamentally and what we’re supposed to be about. If we are to be effective in bringing glory to God and pointing others to His Son, we must humbly examine ourselves.
Our faith in Jesus is based on His sacrifice for all on the cross, His resurrection and the transformative power of it in our lives. As Christians, everything we do, the kind of people we are, the way we relate to others and the priorities of our lives should all reflect His love and point to Him as our focus in all things.
How is it that some Christians are some of the most anger-provoking people alive? Why is there often such dissension between us? Aren’t Christians supposed to be peacemakers and carriers of Jesus’ Light in this world? Unfortunately that is not always the case, as most all Christians and non-Christians will attest to.
In various types of media (movies, TV shows, books, music, etc.), Christians are frequently portrayed by the world as aggressive, ignorant, prideful and self-righteous, just to name a few. If you ask a non-Christian to sum up his or her impression of Christians in general, what is their response likely to be, positive or negative? It’s often negative. That should not be! As Christians, we should be known for our love, our wisdom, our humility.
We have relationship with God and believe that He communes with us, uses us and speaks through us for His glory. But does that mean everything that comes out of our mouths is from Him? No! Let us not think of ourselves higher than we ought (Romans 12:3). We have our own opinions which, hopefully, are guided by the Holy Spirit and rooted in the truth of God’s Word, but it is always possible for us to interject thoughts and ideas that are not of God concerning matters, despite the fact that our faith is in Him.
For us to always have to be “right” or demand to have the last word is pure arrogance and does absolutely no good for the Kingdom of God. When we truly comprehend that the Holy Spirit will do His work as He alone sees fit, we can let go of that self-aggrandizing need and rest in the fact that we are nothing apart from Jesus Christ. The self-righteous, condescending, holier-than-Thou mindset does little more for others than create a “clanging” in their ears that Paul speaks of in his letter to the church at Corinth.
1 Corinthians 13 is an entire passage about love that is commonly shared at weddings (it was at ours!) for good reason, however, it doesn’t apply only to newlyweds, it applies to us all:
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:1-2
Wow! Who wants a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal in their ears? Have you ever been on stage with a drummer who hasn’t yet grasped the idea of the cymbals and just wants to make noise? Or been in the room when a kid wanders up to the drum set and bangs on it over and over and over again? It’s like nails on a chalkboard to me!
When we read that Scripture and understand what it really says, it ought to make us stop and re-evaluate ourselves. Is it really possible to have a gift such as prophecy or words of knowledge and not have love? Whoa. To me, right there is a great example of the fact that none of us Christians, no matter where we are in our spiritual journeys, whether we are just beginning or have been on this road for years and years, none of us are such righteous, holy people that we are incapable of error; we must continually recognize that although God may use us and give us spiritual gifts, we are still human, and are continuously in need of His grace and mercy. We still make mistakes. It is possible to go about something in the wrong spirit with all the right words, using the right Scriptures even. If our eyes are on ourselves instead of Jesus, all of our efforts will be worthless and ineffective. We can quote Scripture all day long, express all the spiritual thoughts we can come up with, but if our hearts are in it for our own exaltation, it means nothing and is shared completely in vain! If our actions are motivated by the goal of our own gain, we make no room for God’s glory or His love to be expressed through us.
Let’s think about it this way: you have a woman who has been given the gift of prophecy who enthusiastically prophecies, but who also has the reputation of being insolent, rude, self-serving and often disrespectful towards others. Then you have a man who is gifted in words of knowledge who is known for serving others in numerous ways around the community, regarding people with high esteem and concern for their well-being.
If they both come to you with their gifting, who is likely to be more effective in ministering to you? Who are you more likely to consider credible and take seriously, valuing what they have to say? I’ll tell you right now, I probably wouldn’t give the lady the time of day. I’d be wary of her, assuming she was out for her own advancement in some way. But for the man, I’d be thankful God was using a highly respectable and considerate person to speak into my life.
We’re not in this to gain everyone’s favor and applause. That’s not my point. There will always be people who don’t like us for any number of reasons and we just have to accept that. We’re also not going to make everyone happy with what we have to share. That’s not my point, either. But in order to be genuine and effective Christians, it is crucial that we examine our hearts, allowing God to search us and make sure we’re driven for His glorification alone, because we will fail miserably time after time if we’re doing it all for ourselves. We need to think about whether our attitudes and behaviors convey love and peace, or condemnation and division. The spirit in which we act and communicate speaks volumes, and it can be a catalyst towards God or a catalyst away from God for others.
The truth is that we Christians are all sometimes going to miss the mark by miles, but let’s not allow that to become what we’re known for. Rather, let us bear with one another graciously in success and failure, remembering and demonstrating that it is in Jesus Christ alone that we stand redeemed and whole.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not boast, it does not envy, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me and know my thoughts; and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23