One of the things I hear most often from non-Christians is that Christians are hypocrites. These nonbelievers usually revel in framing the debate about Christianity to the way that some who identify themselves as Christians act. They delight in the stories of the once "holier than thou Christian" who was caught in a scandal, oftentimes repeating the gossip with glee. Then they anxiously await the next fall from grace they can use to "prove" the sanctimoniousness of the Christian faith. In fact, the sin of hypocrisy is such a grievous act that the nonbeliever adheres to the non-Christian proverb [it is] "better to be known as a sinner than a hypocrite."
How ironic that the nonbeliever, whether they are aware of it or not, actually gives credence to the teachings of Jesus Christ! On the subject of the religious hypocrite, Jesus had much to say, including; "You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye." The Christian faith is not hypocritical and does not condone religious hypocrisy. While you can say all Christians are sinners, you cannot say they are all hypocrites. For every hypocrite there is someone living out their faith consistent with Christianity.
Judgmental and Brainless
In addition to hypocrisy, nonbelievers describe Christians as ignorant and arrogant. They often lament about "judgmental Christians" while on the other hand lambasting, mocking, and judging them as being brainless. No one likes the feeling of being judged and yet, some who claim to be Christians, plus others who are not, openly judge people every day. However, it is only the perceived Christians that get criticized for judging, and perhaps rightly so because Jesus taught that we are to leave judgment to God alone, He also said that if we judge others we too will be judged.
Everyone has done something foolish at least once in their lifetime and sometimes more often. Imagine your most foolish moment, and now imagine that an entire group of people are being judged and called crazy because of what you've done. That's how some people view Christianity, through the narrow light of what some people have said or done. But once again, the theory that Christianity produces a bunch of brainless followers is inconsistent with the teachings. The Bible teaches the importance of study and seeking godly wisdom and knowledge over the wisdom of the world.
Anyone can call themselves a Christian but there is more to Christianity than just a label. People who intentionally do things that are contradictory to the teachings of Christianity, yet call themselves Christians, do not represent the Christian faith. Non-Christians are quick to blast the Christian faith for terrible and horrendous deeds done in the name of Christianity. When in reality, anyone committing such heinous acts and practicing sin is not in accordance with the Christian faith. In addition, those nonbelievers who cite all the egregious acts of alleged Christians somehow always forget about all the Christian martyrs.
Just because someone identifies themselves as a Christian does not necessarily mean that they're a Christian. Jesus said "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven." Furthermore, many will say "Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?" To which Jesus will then declare to them "I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS." (Mat 7:21-23)
So, who is a Christian? Jesus answered that question saying ". . . he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven . . ." The Bible also talks about the characteristics of Christ followers, the "fruit of the spirit." They are "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control." (Gal 5:23) Those who are Christians have given their lives to Christ and thus they belong to Him and have "crucified the flesh with its passions and desires." (Gal 5:24) Christians are to ". . . live by the Spirit . . . [and] . . . also walk by the Spirit." (Gal 5:25) In addition, Christians are not to be "boastful or envious of one another." (Gal 5:26)
The Wisdom of a Bumper Sticker
Seldom does a bumper sticker leave a lasting impression. After all, who cares if someone's child is an honor student at some little known school or that a person has a particular affinity for a political party or a cause, but even worse are the occasional offensive bumper stickers. One bumper sticker, however, was like a breath of fresh air and helped me realize early-on that I didn't have to pretend to be what the world's definition of a Christian was, but I could rest in the grace of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The bumper sticker had a simple but profound message; "Christians Aren't Perfect . . . Just Forgiven."
So, if I don't have to be perfect why in the world would I tell someone else they have to be perfect to warrant God's love? The answer is I can't, however, that doesn't mean that I condone sin or participate in it. Also, what I must do is tell anyone within the sound of my voice about the gospel, that is the good news, that "God so loved the world that He sent His only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world."
Call me what you will, an extremist, a zealot, even a Jesus freak, it doesn't matter. "I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes." If I have offended you because of something I said, I apologize, but if I have offended you because of something that the Bible said, I make no such apology.
Whether you believe or not is your decision, but it will not change my decision, more importantly it will never change the gospel of Christ. C.S. Lewis said; "There are two kinds of people: those who say to God, 'Thy will be done,' and those to whom God says, 'All right, then, have it your way.'" But the Bible says it best "How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!"
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