Somebody correct me if I’m wrong here but, if we claim the name of Christ, shouldn’t there be something different about our lives? I know this…I know far too many Christ followers, myself included, that claim His name and live contrary to what He teaches. I’ll give you a perfect example…language. I cuss too much. Now, lemme just say this; I’m not one of those legalists that is going to condemn you to hell for using “cuss words”. If I did that, I’d have to condemn myself. I don’t think it’s about “cussing” anyway, I think it goes much deeper than that. To make major issues out of peripheral issues like cussing or drinking beer is to cheapen faith and what it means to follow Christ; it trivializes it in my opinion.
Back to cussing. I’ll use myself as an example here and one other dude I know. I too often find myself, when I get pissed (angry if you’re one of those legalist types that don’t like that word), I sometimes let a word or two fly. I used to think well, that’s okay. I mean, it’s not like I’m using His name in vain or anything, right? (whatever that means) Anyways, I work with a guy who is very outspoken about his church attendance. He’s actually a deacon at his church, I might add, and he’ll tell people this. When I get to the office in the mornings, he’s usually here, sitting at his desk, reading “the good book” as he calls it. His partner walks in and the the usual ‘man banter’ begins. Within seconds…not minutes, seconds…he’s droppin’ f-bombs etc etc. This happened yesterday and I just looked at him for a second. I wanted to say, “Hey man, why do you even bother to read your bible or tell people you got to church?” I shut my mouth very quickly when Jesus whispered softly in my heart, ‘You know you should worry about yourself first, right?’ That shut me right up.
I will say this though…cause this is what I do is run my mouth and voice my opinions. Actually, let me start with this whole church thing. I am not a fan of “organized religion”. Let me just get that out there right away. I often skip church and I am a Christ follower. I do believe in church attendance but I think that we and our church leaders too often substitute that for a relationship with Christ. So, church is not the answer folks. Christ is. Enough of that for now, I’ll come back to that another time.
Who do we think we are, us ‘Christians’, those who claim Christ? We are horrible witnesses to those outside the faith. I mean, let’s be honest with ourselves here. We are the reason people don’t come to Christ. He is not the reason, we are. Our behavior does not point others to Christ. If we claim His name, we should be living like we know Him, right? If we’re not, then we should shut up, cause we are really doing some damage to the Kingdom work. Here’s another one that really chaps me; Why are we against everything? Seriously, when was the last time you heard a ‘Christian’ talk about love, tolerance, acceptance for those “different”? No, we’re too busy condemning homosexuality, beer drinkers, smokers and those who fornicate. Where is the love, people?
I again consider Christ. If you will read His story in what we call the Gospels, He hung out with the scum of society. And I love Him for it, cause I am guilty of scum behavior at times. Doesn’t that give you hope? Shouldn’t we share that hope freely with anyone and everyone, whether or not we agree with what they are doing? Of course Christ told people to stop sinning. I have a news flash for all of us. We are not Christ. It is His job to change behavior; it is ours to love others. Notice that not once in the Gospels does Jesus tell his disciples that He wants them to go out and judge people for their sins. I am the chief of judgment on others so I’m preachin’ to myself here as well and I’m not saying we shouldn’t give our opinion about something if we are asked. Let’s just give our opinion in love. This is my prayer. I want Him to show me love, to teach me love, tolerance for others because that’s what He said.
Hear the words of Christ. “’Jesus replied, You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself.’” – Matthew 22: 37-38, NLT.
I didn’t say it. He did. Perhaps we should heed that.