“The more I am around ‘Christians,’ the less I want to be one.” I have heard that statement many times coming from those who are not Christ followers. There are many reasons given. Many times it is a general characterization of everyone who claims to be a Christ follower and is certainly not true of everyone who is. That is kind of like a “throwing the baby out with the bath water” thing. There are many times where there is a legitimate reason. Jesus Himself had more critical words for the “religious” crowd of the day than he did for the “publicans and sinners.” My friend Jeff Miller said in his blog post today, “The longer I live, I’m less and less surprised by the fact that non-believers live and act like non-believers.” I feel the same way. Non-believers are suppose to act the way they do. They have no spiritual truth in which to guide them, so it should not surprise us at all. But many churches act more like the Pharisees, who wanted people to become just like them before they accepted them. They placed high priority on ritual rather than a relationship. They valued conformity rather than confession and image over integrity. They dealt with matters of the outward while Jesus concentrated on the inward.
I think many Christians (and churches) have fallen into this as well. We come to church, sing a few songs to make us feel good, tip God when the offering plate is passed, try to stay awake during the talk (which is another blog post in itself) and then go out and have very little concern for people around us. Nothing that happens inside the church affects how we live outside the church. If that last statement is true, why do we even go to church? Why do we even call ourselves Christians?
God expects more from us. He expects us to live like our relationship with Him makes a difference… because it does. That is not to say that we will not have times of failure in the way we treat people, we will. But that will be an exception, not the rule. A pastor that I once worked for used to say “your beliefs affect your behavior.” If that is the case (and I believe it is), there are not many people that call themselves Christians that do not believe very much about what Jesus taught.
And before you ask me if I am perfect, no, I am not. I struggle every day being the man God wants me to be. But at least I am struggling with it, many are not.
Anyone else feel like this? Maybe I am being to tough? What do you think?