Home is Where Your Story Begins

October 28, 2011

I will not say “I am a Christian”

Filed under: Life — my3daughters @ 1:38 pm

You can debate Biblical issues and mysteries until you are blue in the face. Heck, you can do it in the original Greek for all I care. You can occupy a pew every time the church doors are open. You can memorize the entire Prayer Book, or even the entire Bible. BUT, if your daily actions don’t mirror Christ, in my opinion you are an epic failure.

I’ve stopped telling people I’m a Christian. Instead I say that I have a faith that sustains me. Because if I have a negative view of the term “Christian” because of the actions of others, imagine how a non-believer feels. It’s a total turn off. I was raised in the church, there every time the doors were open. I went to Sunday School, Youth Group, Youth Camp, Church Camp, VBS and Bible College. Yet, until I learned to look at God instead of “Christians”, I wasn’t interested. I walked away from God because I was so disgusted. I considered Buddhism, I tried witchcraft. Fortunately, while I had walked away from God, He had not walked away from me. He brought me to a church of good people, most of whom do their best to walk the walk and not just talk the talk. It was a different denomination than I was raised in and I have had “good Christians” turn their back on me because of that. Instead of being happy that I was again walking with God, they were angry that I wasn’t attending an “approved” church. GAG

I am a very simple person. I live by the motto, “God said it, I believe it, and that’s good enough for me.” God tells me not to worry so I try not to worry. God tells me to love my neighbor, so I try to love my neighbor. I can’t do these things on my own. It is God working through me. And I fail as often as I succeed. But, as Paul told the Philippians, “I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6, New American Standard Bible). So I’m going to keep on trying.

Life is hard, my life is hard. There are days when I am so lonely I ache. There are days when I just don’t want to go on. But I get through it because I tell myself that God is in control. Recently I told someone that I wasn’t worried because God is in control. Their reply was that “the apostles believed that and look where it got them.” No, this wasn’t a non-believer. This was a Christian, a leader in their church. I know this person considers themselves a good Christian and a wise scholar. I have never, in all my years of reading and studying the Bible, ever gotten the impression that the apostles were miserable and unhappy with their lot in life. Besides, look where that got them—eternity with Christ. Darn, wish I would have thought of that when this was said to me.

I recently got a new job. My boss is a Christian. I haven’t interacted with him much but he seems to truly walk the walk and not just talk the talk. I mentioned to someone that I was happy to have a Christian boss. They told me that’s not necessarily a good thing. Then they proceeded to give me examples of “Christian” businesses with less than Christian like practices. “Well, then they aren’t truly Christians” I replied. I was told that Christian bosses are usually tightwads, not wanting to give their employees more pay, more benefits, etc. Does being a Christian make you stupid? Even if you are a Christian, you are running a business, not a charity. You got into that business to make a profit. As long as you aren’t making that profit by immoral or illegal means, you have a right to make a profit. But too many people, even those who call themselves Christians, think that Christian businesses shouldn’t worry about a profit. “Money is the root of all evil” they say. First off, you are misquoting I Timothy 6:10. It’s the LOVE of money that is the root of “all sorts of evil” (NASB). And if money is so evil, why are you upset that your Christian employer isn’t paying you enough? Oh, because it’s evil when they want it but not when you do. Can you say “double standard” and “hypocrite”?

I also had a “good Christian” tell me they were cynical like that’s a good thing. The word cynical isn’t even in the New American Standard Bible. I know. I just did a search for it on Bible Gateway. To me, someone who is cynical doubts. James 1:6 tells me that “the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.” I don’t want to be like that. I want to be stand firm on the foundation of the hope of what God has promised me.

According to Microsoft Word’s built in thesaurus, you can substitute pessimistic, mocking, skeptical, sarcastic, distrustful, suspicious, contemptuous, or disparaging for cynical. Um, yeah, I checked and none of these are fruits of the spirit.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23, NASB)

My friend Judy says that we should “preach the gospel daily. When necessary, use words.” I am so glad that I have finally learned to look to God as my example. If I look at many of those who label themselves as Christians, I wouldn’t be one. I hope no one says that about me.

I recently had a discussion with a young woman who is doubting her faith. She has a “Christian” boyfriend from a “Christian” family who attend a different denomination than she was raised in. She now attends church with him since that’s what he and his family expect from her. He has refused to attend her church because it’s the “wrong” denomination. From the sound of things (having never attended his church I can’t say for sure) they spend a lot of time at his church talking about how wrong other religions and denominations are. Wow, that’s loving, NOT. She isn’t comfortable with that—good for her. I explained to her that no relationship will work long term unless God is at the center. And if her boyfriend is unwilling to work with her to find a church that they are both comfortable in then she needs to get a new boyfriend.

I know church leaders, even ordained ministers, who make me want to say “if that’s a Christian, I don’t want to be one.” I don’t ever want anyone to look at me and say that. I can’t change others but I can change myself. So when I see behavior that isn’t appealing, I look at my life and see if that’s something I need to fix. And if even one person reads this and says “I need to be more Christ-like in my actions” then this was worth it.

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.