Hey there, people.
Yeah, you read the title right. The problems with Christians. That’s what I’m going to try to talk about and hopefully make some sense as I go along. If you feel offended. .well, try taking what I said to heart, maybe? Or yell at me in the comments. That works too. Anyways, let’s get started.
So how many of you have heard the song “We Are One In The Spirit?” A part of it says, “And they’ll know we are Christians by our love.” Yeah. By our love. What love? How often are we as Christian divided over petty reasons? How often are we not accepting of the other? Why must there be division, and not unity? Why must there be hate, and not love?
In 1 John 4, John writes to a house church and tells them the following: “Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, because God is love…If we love one another, God remains in us and His love is perfected in us.”
So now you go, “Yeah, sure, I get it. I love everyone, but…” No. No buts. If we love, it’s unconditional love, like God’s love for us. We love everyone no matter what. That’s perfect love.
Now you’re probably asking, “But wait. What if I don’t agree with them? What if they’re heretics? Then what?!” First, let’s stop here for a second. Just because someone doesn’t agree with your or vice versa in no way means that you can’t get along with them. In fact, that shouldn’t be a constant point of conflict in your relationship. If someone is an existentialist, does that mean he’s a heretic and hell-bound? What if he’s Anglican? Catholic? Guess what—it’s not up to us to decide who’s going to hell or who isn’t. It’s up to God. We can go, “But what they believe is wrong and heresy, therefore they’re unsaved!” but that’s not what we’re supposed to do. In Romans 14, Paul says, “But you, why do you criticize your brother? Or you, why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before the tribunal of God….Do you have a conviction? Keep it to yourself before God. The man who does not condemn himself by what he approves is blessed.” As you can see, just because we have a conviction/opinion gives us no right to judge people because they believe something else. Honestly, life is too short for us to quibble over petty matters. Is it truly worth it?
You probably are going, “What about all those clearly bonkers? The ones that preach nothing but garbage? Aren’t we allowed to rain fire and brimstone on them?” Answer: No. You’re not. See, no matter how screwed-up someone’s theology might be, no matter how watered down a teaching is, there’s one thing we must remember: Christ is being preached. Paul talked about it in Philippians 1, when he said, “What does it matter? Just that in every way, whether out of false motives or true, Christ is proclaimed.” That is what is important.
All right, let’s change gears a little bit, shall we? I want to talk a little bit about another problem we as Christians often face. How often have we said the phrase “I’ll pray about it”? It’s something of a catch-phrase, isn’t it? When we really don’t feel like doing anything about something someone told us, it’s so easy to say that we’ll just pray about it. But how often is there more that we could do? If someone tells us that he’s having a big exam coming up, don’t just say “I’ll pray for you” when there’s more you can do—offer your assistance! Praying is just one part, doing is another. Anyone can talk, but not everyone will do.
The whole praying thing can be taken even further when it affects what we do in greater ways. Let’s take for example homeless people. How often do we see homeless people on the streets and turn the other way? How often do we try to pretend that they don’t really exist, and work overtime to snuff out our conscience? We come up with excuses: “Oh, I don’t want to give them money because they’ll use it on drugs.” “I couldn’t stop because it looked too dangerous.” But what’s to stop us from making a sandwich for a homeless widow and giving it to them along with a tract? They’re human beings, just like us. And if we don’t love them, who will? It’s not just enough to pray—we have to do. In James 1, it says that “Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress.”
There’s so much more I could say on the subject, and I probably will at some point, but for now, I just want to end with one thought: If we’re brothers and sisters in Christ, why don’t we act that way? Why don’t we live that way? We get so caught up in the talking, that we forget the *doing*. Many Christians spend their time figuring out exactly what denomination they are, then spending all their time deciding exactly what they believe and why that is the only truth possible, and assessing who are the saved and unsaved, so that they know who knows the truth; those who do not are often labeled as heretics, because they don’t believe what the others do. What if we spent less time nit-picking on the “irreconcilable differences”, and more on fulfilling the greatest commandment: loving our neighbor as ourselves? We ask why God does nothing when we hear of tragedies around the world, but we forget what He did do: He made us. And until we start doing, there won’t be a difference. It’s up to us. That’s right. Us.
Less than three,