I recently came across this quote – thanks to Juicing Vegetables for posting it!
It got me thinking. Nothing new really, just a reminder of recurring thoughts that constantly go through my head. About my purpose. As a woman, on this earth, as a follower of Christ.
I don’t really like the term “Christian”…not because of what it truly stands for, but because of what it has come to mean.
I read an article recently where a group of young americans were asked to list the three things that came to mind when they heard the term “Christian”. I only remember two of the three.
This is a tragedy. Truly, it makes me want to cry. Hate shouldn’t be in any part of any description of a Christian concerning how we view other people. And God makes it abundantly clear that being judgmental is one of the things that he detests.
Those two terms are so far from who Jesus was.
He made it really simple:
The people he loved to be with? The rejects, the sinners, the prostitutes, the sick, the hurting, the outcasts.
The ones he came down on? The religious elite: who thought that his friends were the rejects. The “unclean” “disgusting” “unworthy” ones.
But honestly, I don’t personally know a lot of Christians who are very jugemental and none who truly hate gay people. Perhaps it’s the community that we are in. But most of our Christian friends are some of the most warm, loving, and accepting people that I know.
Sure, I’ve met a few who act more like Pharisees than Jesus. Who seem to look to point out the sins of others, as if that sin is any worse than their own. But they are few. And they are not the people that we strive to be close to.
That’s why it pains me to hear that the young people of our generation have such a harmful view of Christianity.
I want to tell them that whomever they have come into contact with that spread that message, was not of Christ.
That Jesus would want them to know that they are loved, so deeply loved that he DIED for them…even knowing they would reject him.
That it doesn’t matter what their past is, what their sexual orientation is, whom they have hurt. That he wants them to simply come to Him.
I don’t know anyone who came to know Jesus as their Savior because a Christian was really effective at pointing out all of the things that they thought were wrong with them.
I think most people know deep down that they’re broken.
What most people don’t know is that they are loved with more passion than they could ever fathom.
That the last thing they need to do is “get it all together” before coming to Christ.
He will deal with their sin. He will speak to their hearts. Sometimes he uses other believers to speak these truths, but I don’t think this effectively happens before someone is saved.
So it always pains me when other Christians expect people who don’t know Jesus to hold to His same standards.
Sure, there are some universal principals that the vast majority of us can agree on: murder is wrong, hurting a child is wrong, adultery is wrong, etc.
But when the church comes down on the rest of the world for writing “X-mas”, or tells a person that it is wrong to love the person that they do; or when we expect women to dress modestly, or expect people not to cuss, or expect people not to drink alcohol, or act shocked when people sleep together before they are married…we are pushing them further from Christ.
(ps – these are just examples of common judgements, not necessarily my personal views.)
I guess what I am getting at is the reason that Christ called our greatest commandment to Love each other is because he knew that this was the surest, most effective way of saving people’s souls.
I don’t always get this right. Honestly, being judgmental is one of the things that I pray against more in my life than anything else, which is why this is such a sensitive topic to me – because I so easily fail here. But I am trying…so, so hard, I am trying.
Henry will sometimes come home from Sunday school or soccer and want to tell me about what naughty thing another kid did. Not because he is confused about whether it is right or wrong, but because there is something in us that loves to point out when someone else’s sin is “worse” than our own. If it doesn’t concern him (i.e.: they weren’t hurting him) I say “Henry, what other people might be doing wrong is none of our business. Don’t you do wrong things too?”
I know this is controversial, but I just don’t find any merit in teaching our children “right” by pointing out what others are doing wrong. I think this teaches them to be judgmental more than it strengthens their conscience.
We were given a perfect example of how to live rightly, as well as many examples in the bible of how not to act: mainly the Pharisees. (One of, if not the most judgmental group ever documented in history!)
So we have started a new tradition around the dinner table. We each say three things about every other person in our family, or any guest joining us for dinner, that we think is awesome. Something they are good at, something nice they did, etc. Henry loves this. I am hoping that this will cultivate the habit in his mind of looking for the best in people, and being able to quickly, easily, and naturally point out their strengths. We always include Daddy, even when he is not home, and my next step is to start including someone who isn’t there with us. Because I believe it is crucial that children learn to speak well of people, especially when they are not present.
I don’t know, I’m still a new parent, and have SO much to learn regarding following Christ, I could be all wrong. Trust me, I don’t pretend to have it all figured out.
I tell my kids this all the time. Thank goodness for grace.
live well. be well.