Hello all Jennifer here with a new post.
“I Don’t Want to be a Christian Like You”
I am sure this title got your attention and may even already have you judging what I am going to say.
A few weeks ago I was overloaded with negativity and discouragement. Something happened that hurt me so deeply and made me so upset, and it stemmed from comments made by Christians. I was driving to work and thinking about these things in my head. Naturally, as always happens when you are in a negative mind frame, I then started to think about all the other things that have happened to me to hurt me.
I found myself mentally listing these things and the people behind them and thinking “I don’t want to be a Christian Like You!”
Some of you reading this will be saddened by that thought and want to tell me how wrong it is to think that way. Some of you reading this are probably saying “amen!” I know people like that! Or some of you reading this may think “yep, that’s why I don’t want to go to church and be around those hypocrites”.
Well that is your right to think that way. I was wrong to think that way.
As I breathed deeply and really thought about it, I started to think about all the wonderful experiences I have had since becoming a Christian and the people I have met that are such amazing Christians.
I think the main problem is that if you are a Christian, or if you are not a Christian, we all do the same thing. We watch people and we are more apt to notice their shortcomings and focus on those. But, we don’t want someone doing that to us. We don’t want others to just dwell on our slips and judge or entire lives by those things, why don’t we offer that to others. Wouldn’t that be “treating others the way you want to be treated”?
I recently had supper with someone and I found myself saying how as a Christian I am always being watched and judged, by Christians and non-Christians. Everything I do or don’t do is judged. My actions, my words, my clothes, my Facebook post, the organizations I support, the places I go on trips, it is all judged. Sometimes it is absolutely exhausting and I get so tired of it, but it is part of living for God.
As I was driving I was reviewing all of this. I was baptized 6 years ago and on my drive I was reviewing everything! (My head was reeling, it’s only about a 10 minute drive!)
Here is the meat of my conclusion:
Christians are people, people are not perfect. People make mistakes. People gossip. People do things that are not nice. People say things that hurt. People are selfish. People do things that others don’t agree with. People are people, and Christians are people. Christians are called out. Christians are different because we are expected to live lives that reflect God-as we should. But it’s not easy, and we were never told it would be. We are all going to make mistakes and when we do we want others to love us, to forgive us, to help us do better, and to help us move on.
It is a horrible thing to try to make/keep a list of people who hurt us and hold that against them. We are commanded to forgive and we are commanded to love with a love that is unending and beautiful. We are to move forward for God no matter what happens to us. It is just as horrible to let these things keep us from being Christians the way we are told to be in the bible.
I know this is not easy. It is hard when you are trying with everything in you to be a good Christian and you are met with discouragement. You want to give up, you want to stop what you are doing. When it seems no one appreciates what you are doing, then what’s the point of doing it. But, God knows what we are doing and that is really all that matters. And we never know who we will influence for God.
Now some food for thought. That person that said something that hurt you, well they may not know it hurt you. They may not have even thought twice about it. They may be in a dark place themselves and that makes them respond with negativity. And I bet if you look past your own hurt, you can find a person just like you. A Christian who is trying to live for God, and just like you they are human and they mess up. Just like you they need forgiveness and understanding. And most importantly Jesus died for them just like he did for you. God loves them and wants them to be in heaven one day, just like you.
The devil wants us to hurt each other, he wants us to be to proud to forgive others, he wants us to fight over things, he wants us to be divided, he wants the world to see us as “hypocrites”, he wants nothing more than to use us against each other and God. He does not want us to go to heaven. I often get this mental picture of God/Jesus watching over us, saddened by divisions and hurt and pride that can’t be let go of, often with a tear and outstretched arms…..while the devil watches us going “yes!” and fist pumping.
Let’s not let the devil win, and let’s not let the devil use us to make others stumble. If you find yourself discouraged or disgusted or calling someone a hypocrite or backbiting or gossiping, take a moment to stop. Breathe and say a prayer. Remember we are all equal in God’s eyes, Jesus died for all of us, we are the redeemed, we have so much to be thankful for and we need to stop and love and forgive like we are commanded. And yes this means forgiving someone even when they don’t ask for it and even if they keep doing the same thing over and over.
We are working for God and trying so hard, let’s not be each other’s discouragement wether to each other’s face or behind each other’s backs.
To those who aren’t Christians and claim we are all “hypocrites”, I get it and I was just like you. But I have learned that I was wrong to pass that judgement on Christians, and so are you. If a Christian is in fact a hypocrite, well they will have to answer for that on judgment day…..just like you will have to answer for your unwillingness to commit to God. When I die and I am judged I will be held accountable for my life here on earth there will be dark spots, there will be good spots….I control my actions, no-one else and that is what I will answer for.
To anyone I have discouraged over my past 6 years, I am sorry. That was never my intention. I pray that you can forgive me and move on. Please don’t base all Christians on me. I am growing. I am learning. I am failing. I am changing. I am trying to do better.
I pray that we can instead look at Christians and see what God sees. That we can be united. That we can grow together as brothers and sisters. That we can truly love and forgive and grow and teach others.
None of us are perfect and we can’t expect others to be. The church is beautiful, nothing makes my heart happier than reading how the early Christians took care of each other. I have met wonderful people, selfless people, people that do so much for God it is amazing, people that serve others in unmatched ways, people that inspire me without even knowing it, people that I am so thankful for. People that I look at and think “I want to be a Christian Like You”.
To those that have discouraged me over the years, I forgive you. I am stronger for it and everything can teach a lesson if we are willing to let go and learn. And truth is, just because something happened between us, it doesn’t change my love for you. It doesn’t change the fact that you are still a great servant for God. You have taught me lessons and I am a better Christian for it. Sometimes these problems came out of misunderstandings, what a lesson in taking to each other!
To those that have encouraged me, it is because of you I am still here. It is because of you I haven’t given up. It is because of you I try harder. It is because of you I know what it means to use your talents. I love you and thank God for you.
Until next time,