“True” Christians Are A Mess!
As a Christian, I can vouch for the group as a whole (myself included), that in general, Christians are a mess! I’ve never witnessed so many dysfunctional, obsessed, fantasy driven people in my life. There is all manner of "psychosis" going on: guilt about sin, insecurity with God, fear of hell, obsession for details, over-analysis of everything, hypocrisy, paranoia that Satan has deceived them, messiah/prophet complexes, obsession about rituals and ways of doing things, dread of being tainted by sin, shame of failing spiritually, secret knowledge that only they have been anointed with, fear of losing their salvation, self-righteousness, self-justification and denial, Christians trying to control and manipulate other Christians by making them feel bad, sinful, guilty…the list goes on and on.
Again I will say, I am included.
And the reason I say that "true" Christians are a mess is because there is no such thing as a "TRUE" Christian or rather, a Christian who is better than another Christian. Anyone who judges another person, accusing them of not being a "true" Christian, is himself engaging in behavior that is not behavior a "true" Christian should be engaging in: Judging someone else.
A person who accepts Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior IS a "true" Christian. But we all want to rank ourselves and others, and in doing so, we attempt to disqualify other Christians and banish those who are not up to our standard of the faith... those who are NOT "true" Christians.
Yet Jesus tells us not to rank and judge each other: "Do not judge..."- Matthew 7:1, "He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone..."- John 8:7; and Paul says, "Who are you to judge the servant of another?"-Romans 14:4
Well it is understandable. Our fear and respect for God makes us nervous about serving Him the wrong way. We want to worship God exactly right, but no one can agree on what the right way to serve God is. Every denomination is different from the others on rituals, services, methods, doctrines, beliefs, translations, interpretations, etc. And we all sincerely hope to serve God exactly right. But we're not sure. So we get neurotic, nervous and obsessed. And because we have become obsessed, we want everyone else to be as nervous and obsessed as we are. And when we meet more casual Christians or those who believe differently than us, we reason that they aren't taking things as seriously as we are. Or when we meet Christians who don't sacrifice as much as we do, or are not as moral as we are, we conclude they must not be "true" Christians. Unfortunately our self-righteousness has placed us a few steps back behind them. But in our zeal to get others to be more like us, we speak and act in judgmental, condemning ways, that are a tad bit...well...UNChristian.
And how many Christians do you know that find something wrong with other Christians? Well…that would be ALL of us! We all think others are not “true” Christians because they do this or don’t do that or believe this or don’t believe that…basically they don’t follow God like we follow God…and that should be the first tip off that we are ALL wrong.
We as Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Christians are accused of NOT being "true" Christians because of our perceived "lifestyle", saying we can't be GLBT and Christian, or that our lives negate the saving grace of Jesus Christ. But the last time I checked, salvation was open to all who believed: "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. - John 3: 16.
No one is perfect. No, not one. And if you think that the doctrine you believe in; or whether you speak in tongues; or use only the King James Bible; or if you are baptized in the Holy Spirit; or pray to the Saints; or affirm gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender sex relationships...makes a difference to your salvation...then you are incorrectly believing that your deeds and doctrine save you. If this is the case then...YOU DON'T NEED JESUS.
What is the point of Jesus dying on the cross for you?
"I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!" - Galatians 2:21
But the very reason Jesus came to the earth, lived among us, showed us the way to live, and sacrificed Himself, saying, "Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing." (- Luke 23:34), is because we as a people... ARE A MESS.
It is BECAUSE we are a mess, that God sent His Son Jesus to save us.
We are just ordinary people. And because we are ordinary, we carry our own baggage, insecurities, lack of faith, neuroses and fear into our Christian life. We try to serve God, but as ordinary people we mess it up. No matter how sincerely we try to live for God, somehow we will make a mess of it.
C’mon, people, perhaps we should just admit we’re not so perfect and grant our neighbors permission to also not be so perfect. It is called humbleness, forgiveness, understanding, grace, mercy and compassion. Basically LOVE.
But unfortunately, our fears have produced legalism, fundamentalism, and well-meaning, but neurotic fanatics; and the non-believing world has a front row seat, watching us Christians make a mess of the simple gospel of Jesus Christ.
And I can't tell you how many times I've heard stories from former Christians who left the faith because of the antics of "true" Christians. A nun who physically beat them as a child. A pastor who told a family that their dead father probably ended up in hell. A family member who refuses to see another member because they think he/she is a sinner. A pastor who told a divorced member to leave the church. The Christian family who kicked their 16 year old gay son out of the house. Endless stories of "true" Christians who destroy the salvation of others over perceived imperfection, sin and mistakes...which Christ by the way...died for.
The list is endless of people who left the faith, NOT because of unbelief in God, but because of the controlling, unsympathetic, cold, insensitive, nastiness and fanaticism of their Christian pastors, clergy, members, friends and family.
Jesus came to set the world free through His humble service, love and sacrifice for mankind. He taught us to love and forgive each other in community, and proclaimed the Kingdom of God, welcoming all who believed. This is the simple, beautiful gospel of Jesus Christ.
But we, His followers, have turned His church into a political monster machine using our aggressive power to control the government, big business and Hollywood, through threats, boycotts, division, protests, discrimination, nepotism and lobbying. Sounds more like behavior of a high stakes corporation than a church? Hmmm.
So much for the meek, humble servant, who turns the other cheek.
And churches not only operate like this, but mass-produce members who act and think like this. "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are." - Matthew 23:15
Christianity in America is now about politics, Roe vs. Wade, gay marriage Evolution vs. Creationism vs. Intelligent Design, the display of the Ten Commandments, stem cell research, anger over using the term "X-mas" or "Happy Holidays" instead of "Christmas", ...everything under the sun EXCEPT God's love for us through Jesus Christ.
Arguing about this nonsense doesn't only NOT make non-believers want to become Christians, but it just makes us look like a mess. That is also why non-believers are AFRAID of Christians. Because we appear koo-koo AND are trying to take over of the government. We ramble on and on about stupid issues, but most of us fail to do the one thing that will convince them that Jesus is real. We fail to love them.
the world will be what convinces people that Jesus is real.
They will know we are Christians by our love. Not by our stance on the war in Iraq. And though so many Christians try to keep Satan from coming into our lives, I believe Satan already has a tight grip within our churches.
We teach each other how to become cautious Christians, focusing not on Jesus, but on Satan, sin, corruption, and evil, creating fearful and defensive Christians instead of Christians filled with joy. And instead of loving the world to Christ, Christians now view the world as evil and want nothing to do with it...though Jesus loves the world.
Yes, we as "true" Christians...are a mess.
But it is because of our mess, our humanity, our tendency to fail, that Jesus came to die on the cross to restore our relationship with God and to restore our fellowship with each other. To make mankind one community honoring and worshiping God.
We are but a bunch of stumbling disciples who shoot off our mouths instead of practicing the faith of feeding, helping, sharing and loving the world to Christ. We are a far cry from the early disciples who quietly practiced their religion in humility and service.
It may not be easy to just step out of our mess, but we need to focus first on Jesus and ask Him to shine a light on our lives and help us reevaluate everything. And we need to listen to His voice only, because He is the teacher of what is really "true".
Paul said, "For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified."-1 Corinthians 2:2
And Jesus said very plainly what is required of us to become "true" men and women of God:
"'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." -Matthew 22: 37-40
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