Some days I wake up and think to myself, "Wow, Christians have really messed up this thing called Christianity." Recently I was struck with how bizarre it must sound to others, especially non-believers, when we believers sit around in church services singing songs about sitting on a cloud with Jesus. It must sound crazy to them when they hear us tell our children "Bible" stories that insinuate Heaven to be in the sky and Hell to be under the ground. It must be awful and terribly confusing to non-Christians when we Christians justify our hate crimes, our ridicule, our condemnation of others with talk of God's will and God's purpose for this world. It has got to look ridiculous, laughable almost, when we put a pretty smile on our faces on Sundays, praise the Lord with both hands raised in worship, and shout "amen" and "praise the Lord' when our pastor says something we agree with, just to show up to work on Monday morning taking our Lord's name in vain, gossipping about our co-worker, and bragging about how we told "so and so" off last night for letting his dog come in our yard and poop in our flower bed. It is no wonder we've become a joke to the non-Christian world. I have found myself so incredibly embarrassed at how I and others have represented Christ to this world. In fact, I'm downright disgusted and offended at people who claim to be followers of Christ yet continue to live their lives in ways that only spit in God's face.
And then I'm reminded I am no better. No different. It wasn't all that long ago that my life reflected everything and anything but God. Jesus extended His grace to me. I took it after fighting Him on it for a long time. I let Him reveal His love for me and I never was the same after that. I was reminded just yesterday that we as Christians are called to extend the same amount of grace to others that has been given to us. That can be challenging for someone like me who struggles with receiving grace from anyone. But everything good in my life...every single blessing I have received and will receive...all of it...are examples of God's grace in my life. It is true. Christians are to blame for their role in the misrepresentation of Christianity. But with God's grace we can fix that. It is my prayer and my hope that God will reveal to us just how He wants us to be to others. I have a feeling it doesn't look like what we've thought it to look like all of this time. Let's be willing to listen. Let's be willing to change. Let's be willing to accept the call before it's too late.
Just as each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of the varied grace of God. Whoever speaks, let it be with God's words. Whoever serves, do so with the strength that God supplies, so that in everything God will be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 4:10-11 (NET)