I had a very long conversation with someone today who has been a Christian for many years and is completely shattered and heart-broken right now. Like myself, this individual has a lot of questions and has been through A LOT in ministry. They have been hurt deeply by the Christian community. People they have known their entire life. This conversation reminded me of a post I wrote on Facebook last year from a series I was writing. Here is the post….
“Christians are some of the meanest people I have ever met. HOW CAN THIS BE? JESUS WAS NOT MEAN? WHY? Personal Experience – I have been hurt so much more by people who label themselves as Christians than anyone else in my lifetime. I have been in a Pastor’s family my entire life, so I have seen first hand the effects Christians have on other people. However, until becoming a Pastor’s Wife, I really didn’t understand. The cruelty that people speak to others under the label of The Gospel is unfathomable. I’m not standing here saying I am perfect. I promise. I know I make mistakes and have hurt people, however, it is never my intention to do so and when I realize I have, I try my best to make it right. So here are my thoughts on why it happens….I think lots of people in the church are RELIGIOUS and NOT CHRISTIANS. WHAT…NOW WHO’S JUDGING…just hear me out!!!! There is a big difference. To be a Christian that means that you have Christ living inside of you and you are Christ-Like. Many people I know throw the whole Christ-Like thing out the door, attend church, label themselves as Christians because they do so and act any way they want and treat people any way they want. That doesn’t cut it and unfortunately the cause for Christ is devastated by these actions. So here is my prayer for the next 39+ years for me and all those who surround me. I want to be JESUS to everyone I see. I don’t want religion. I just want Jesus. I want to shine HIS light to a world that is hurt and hurting everyday. I want to shine HIS light to the religious people and show them, there is a better way. If you have been hurt by a CHRISTIAN, please, I beg you, don’t let that taint your perspective of Jesus. He came so you could have a better life. He came so that you could live for eternity with Him. He only wants good for you and He loves you so very much. I know it can be hard to let Christians back in when you have been hurt, but I beg you, give it a try. Find a church that will LOVE you and TREAT you with KINDNESS and not JUDGE. There are some Christians out there, that just want to be there for you and love you along life’s path. I PROMISE :)”
To sum up…. almost a year later, I feel the same way about Christians. I really don’t want to be labeled a Christian, I prefer Jesus Follower. Here’s my challenge to my readers and myself…seek the Bible, what does being a Christian really mean? According to Webster, a Christian is: one who professes belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ. If we profess to be a Christian, and truly believe the teachings of Christ then why are our actions not lining up with the life of Christ. Reflect on that. As I recall, He was never rude, hateful, cruel and mean to people. He was honest, kind, caring, loving and wanted the best for everyone. He sacrificed His life for people who spit on Him. I know we are not Christ and we are not perfect. However, its our job as Christians to live every single moment of everyday to the best of our ability for Christ. Seek Him, ask Him where you need to change. Be willing to allow Him to lead you and follow. Our greatest job as a Christian is to be a missionary and unfortunately we allow life to take its hold on us and we disregard this aspect of our Christian walk daily. I get it. I do it myself. I try not to but it’s so easy. Life is hard, your stressed, there is not enough money, the kids are crazy, your sick and tired and sick and tired some more. But, even though we have all these stresses, feelings and emotions, it doesn’t negate our responsibility as Christians, which is to share the gospel of Christ to a lost and dying world. We can’t do that effectively when we hurt people with our actions and words. So starting today for me and any of my friends who want to be Jesus Followers and not just Christians, make it right with the people you have hurt and start at this very moment to allow God to use you in a mighty way to reach many people for Him.