This quote should not make you angry at anyone. Instead it should make you sad – and if you must be angry, you can only be angry at yourself. We have a problem, and we have been making it worse with every passing day. This Jon Stewart quote is representative of what a whole lot of people around the world think about Christians, and this is just the tip of that iceberg. People see Christians as self-serving, judgmental, hypocritical, “old-fashioned”, and too involved in politics. Everyone shoves Christians into piles of radicals such as anti-abortion extremists, anti-homosexual extremists, and other forceful categories.
This is our own doing! We’re not victims of mislabeling and misunderstanding; we are the cause of this proper labeling and understanding. By continuing to complain about how we are persecuted (referenced in the Jon Stewart quote to the left), identifying ourselves as parts of these radical political movements, and forcing our morals and beliefs on the world, we have turned so many people completely against even listening to the incredible news of Jesus’ sacrifice for everyone. I can’t tell you how many sitcoms and dramas have displayed Christians as being hardcore, immovable radicals picketing in front of abortion clinics and homosexual marriages in inane ways. Yes, these sitcoms are over-exaggerations of what actually occurs, but they are the way people see what we identify ourselves as, because it is what we identify ourselves with. We walk around the world – especially here in America – campaigning about how homosexuality is evil and should not be accepted, politicking for the illegality of abortion at any stage, and being outspoken about the persecution of Christians as opposed to any other world religion. All people see from us these days is our constant forcing of governments and companies to do what we think is right for them to do. One of the most recent cases of this was the incident involving Christians being forced to pay for abortion pills through their health insurance plans. This was a result of the compromise Obama earlier made concerning the forceful use of these pills and other contraceptives in Christian hospitals along with the force applied to like businesses to provide health insurance coverage that also covered abortion measures. I’m not huge into politics, but this was the issue as I saw it. It is also the issue that caused the Jon Stewart quote above, because all of these things were met by a uproar of Christian opposition. This is what we have become known as – a bunch of lobbyists for certain convictions and a group of hypocritical “judgmentalists” imposing our opinions and beliefs on everyone else. Don’t believe me? Some of the information gotten in the first paragraph above was received from a simple Google search concerning public opinion of Christians.
When we carry ourselves around this world with intentions of lobbying our convictions and imposing or morals on everyone, we are failing God. His mission He gave us directly through many passages in the Bible is not to make other people live their lives like we do, but to simply show them the infinite love, mercy, peace, grace, joy, and hope found in the sacrifice Jesus made for every one of us.
“‘Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.'” [Mark 16:15-16]
This is our Great Commission, given by Jesus Himself. So why aren’t we doing it? Where does it say in the Bible “Go make disciples of all nations and while your at it, tell them what to do”? Granted, in Matthew it says immediately after this Great Commission, “[teach] them to obey everything I have commanded you.” [Matthew 28:20]. But He says that AFTER saying “go and make disciples of nations”. It was not God’s intention for us to tell the world how they are to live and what morals they should abide by. It is our duty to first share the love of Christ with as many people as we possibly can, then those Christians may be informed in the way of God. Listen to what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 5:12-13:
“What business of mine is it to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside.”
I encourage you to read this area of Scripture. I will revisit it shortly. For the time being, Paul is telling us that judging people within the church (not in the sense of judging as it has become presently defined but in the sense of constructively correcting sins) is a part of being a part of the body of Christ. We can’t be correcting those outside the church – this will merely drive people away. Once someone accepts Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, God opens their hearts to His teachings, and at that point we have been called upon to instruct them. This is supposed to be in this order for a reason; the way we are going about it today is imposing our morals and beliefs on everyone and then expecting them to accept Christ, but it doesn’t work that way. We drive people away and inflict on them a deaf ear toward Christianity. This is what saddens me about the whole thing. People, we are failing in what God asks of us to do! He wants us to share His love with everyone, and instead we are driving them away. Because of our actions, there are people out there who will never listen with an open mind to the loving Word of God. This is our ultimate failure as Christians.
We can make this right again. Dwight L. Moody once said, “Out of 100 men, one will read the Bible, the other 99 will read the Christian.” It’s time for us to be the example to the world that God called us to be. Not next week. Not tomorrow. Not tonight. Right NOW. There’s not much time left. The same man (Moody) said that the secret to his success was “For many years, I have never given an address without the consciousness that the Lord may come before I have finished.”
What can we do? Lets start by identifying ourselves as independent of radical movements against homosexuality and the like. Is homosexuality a sin? Yes. But so is lying. So either stop picketing against homosexuality and excommunicating gays and lesbians, or do the same for murderers, liars, cheaters, drunkards, pilferers, idolaters, adulterers, people who covet, lust and dishonor their parents, and everyone who has ever used God’s name in vain. That’s right. “Let he who has not sinned cast the first stone.” I’ll be the first to drop my rock and run away, because I have done at least half of those things listed, probably more. We need to, instead, love these people like we would love anyone else! Accept them. God will do His work in them just as He did in you, but you have to show them His love and compassion first.
Let me readdress the 1 Corinthians reference a few paragraphs up. In the area of this Scripture, Paul says to toss out the sinner (drunkard, sexually immoral person) from the church and let God judge him. But this isn’t something we are to do except in extreme circumstances. Paul is more concerned in this passage about making sure the Corinthians did not intimately associate themselves with these kinds of people. Likewise, we need to be careful about who we let influence our lives. Being friends with whoever we want is fine, but we can’t let our friends influence us negatively. Also, although we shouldn’t condemn the sinner who is outside of the church, we also shouldn’t in any way encourage that sin or any others. I felt that it was necessary to make a note of this.
We can stop identifying ourselves as radical lobbyists against issues like abortion. Should we not stand up for what we are convicted of? Of course we should. I myself am a pro-life advocate just as like most Christians. But affiliating our faith with that conviction is unnecessary. This only leads to the issue of labeling that I discussed earlier. Standing up for what we believe in is our right as Americans, not Christians, so exercise that right in the name of Liberty and Justice, but not in the name of God.
Now what are we supposed to do – just sit back and let ourselves get bullied around by governments and other religions? Yes. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes!!!!! Absolutely yes. As I recall Jesus sat back and let people call him a fake, a false prophet, and they even released a murderer from prison just so they could kill Jesus. He let Himself be beaten to the point of death, become so weak that He had to have assistance carrying His cross up to Golgotha, and be killed. I guarantee you that He didn’t have to put up with any of that. Satan himself knows it (Matthew 4:5-7). Shouldn’t we be okay with being slightly uncomfortable here and there? It’s nothing compared to what Jesus put up with for us. So stop complaining about being persecuted. God told us we would be; why are you so surprised? Being content in the way the world treats us and still sharing God’s love and sacrifice with that same world is the BEST way to win people for God. Just think about it. Just like a missionary in Southeastern Asia risks his life under persecution just to spread the Gospel, shouldn’t we be willing to undergo the same kind of persecution (if not more) for God? Surely we can withstand some small discomforts handed down by the American government. If we can do that and instead focus our passions on spreading the love of Christ with all the world, how many more people we could reach out to! How many more people will be open to the Message! How many more people will finally understand this incredible and overwhelming and insurmountable and unfathomable and completely infinite LOVE!!!
I know I’ve said some things today that may be taken wrong. You may be offended by my words or you may just have arguments. Regardless of the case, I encourage you to speak your mind. Let me know what you think or ask me questions, whatever you so desire, I would be more than happy to hear from you. But even better, if you could take these issues and questions to God, you will get a much more…correct answer. A few good ways to do this would be through prayer or reading of your Bible. The answers are all there. You just need to be willing to look for them. I pray for you guys all the time. Please pray for me and that God will continue to show me His plans for me.