I tend to joke when I'm mad so I guess that is why I made the title of this blog a silly quote from Toy Story. Did you catch it? Oh well.
I have on my angry eyes tonight. I'm just mad and sick and heartbroken all at once. Rarely will I write a rant/soap box blog but I am today. Feel free to skip it and catch the next post. I won't be mad.
I'm just going to get it off of my chest. I hate what Christians look like to people who aren't Christians. I hate it. I have a few friends that aren't Christians and when they share with me the view they and many others have about Christians it usually makes me physically sick. They reference people that abuse their wives and children and somehow these abusers misuse scripture to justify their horrible actions. Or they mention pastors that have lavish, over the top, ridiculous lifestyles and golden toilets. They reference people that attack abortion clinics and they talk about christians who boo a solider (who fought in a war for our country) because he is gay.
These are just a few of the many different references I could share. Now, so their is no confusion, I am going to state clearly that I am against abortion and believe that life is a precious gift that should be given to all. I also believe that God designed relationships to be between a man and a woman and anything outside of that is not a part of His plan. Now, back to my rant.
Why is it that these are the people that represent christians to the world?! How did we let this happen?! We have to take a stand in truth and love.
The only way I can think of to combat these heinous images of Christ followers is to share His words and story and life. Share it publicly with our lives every day.
To the abusers that erroneously justify with scripture I say: the Bible does not teach that abuse is okay, period. In fact, let's look at Jesus as our example in the story about the woman caught in the act of adultery (a crime punishable by death). He said to those that wanted to stone her that who ever was without sin could cast the first stone. Obviously that disqualified all the men who dragged her in front of Him, but do you know who that didn't disqualify? JESUS. He had no sin. He could have stoned her, but He didn't. In fact, after He rescued her from those that wanted to kill her He told her that He didn't condemn her and He said to go and sin no more. (John 8:11) That is just one example of Jesus's love... I could go on and on and on.
As for the booing and attacks and ugly behaviors I reference Jesus's words once again from John 13:35 "By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." I don't think that means that we never disagree with people. We are to speak the truth no matter how unpopular it may be, but we are always to speak it in love. If we don't have love we are just noise (1Cor 13:1) and worthless in our testimony.
As far as hoarding riches goes (I know I have to be careful because I don't have all the facts and I know of some megachurch pastors that give away 90%+ of their income and still have an abundance) so I will stick with what I do know. As Christians we are called to come together and give, so that anyone in our midst with a need is taken care of (Acts 2:45). If we stop and take an honest look at our neighborhood or city or state or country or world we will see a LOT of needs and we, maybe not you personally, but Christians as a whole are failing at this. Pure religion is to take care of the orphans and widows in their time of need (James1:27). Just thinking about the girls sex trafficked on a minute by minute basis makes me want to scream. How, with all the resources available at our American fingertips, is it possible that these things are still happening?
Now, before you think I'm getting all "holier than thou" and pointing fingers everywhere else please know that as I type this I am in tears with my failings in every one of these areas.
The point of this post isn't to say that we have to be perfect. It's not possible and every time we fail there may be someone waiting there to point out our failing and then use it as a damaging reference against our Unfailing God. But that doesn't mean we do not need to fight against the wrong image of our Jesus that is portrayed through people who claim they follow Him but look nothing like Him. Jesus Himself said that we will know who are His followers by their fruit (Matt 7:16-18).
My dear friends, Christ didn't die a horrible death for you and me so that we could stand idly by and let people who do not know Him speak for us and mislead a world of people straight to Hell.
I'm not trying to rally together a group to march somewhere or protest something. I believe that the best use of our time and effort as a Christian doesn't involve arguing about inconsequential things or posting "I <3 Jesus" posts on Facebook. I believe that if the people in this world are ever going to see Jesus in Christians then we need to be living every day and moment for Him. Talking to those that we work with. Helping those around us that we know. Praying for opportunities to be BOLD in our faith with those that do not know Him. Let's really represent Him by serving the poor and needy (James 2:16). I am honored to attend a church whose goal is to be have our name be synonymous with the word generous. Not so we can paint "we won the generous award" on the side of our building but so that anytime someone says "wow, that church is so generous that someone from our church is right there pointing all of that back at Jesus saying 'we are because He is, it is ALL because of Him.'"
Let me tell you, there is a reason the Bible says that it is difficult for the rich to enter the kingdom of God. We may not be rich by America's standards but by the worlds standards we are among the richest 5%. Matt 6:21 comes to mind but that is another post for another night.
If you hung in through this whole rant I appreciate it. If you have any suggestions as to how we can all battle the poisonous view of Christianity in the world I would love for you to share in the comments. I'll close with this...
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved."