Christians have an image problem.
“The very word “Christianity” is a misunderstanding – in truth, there was only one Christian, and he died on the cross.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
That’s a bold statement! But sadly, I think in some ways it’s true even though it is painful. And I don’t think Nietzsche is the only one that sees it that way. There are some people that look at the “Bible thumping, judgmental, and holier than thou” Christians and think they are all crazy. They tend to lump all Christians together and view us in a less than favorable light.
What can be done to change that perception?
It’s pretty simple. We have to quit judging and start loving.
Judges in the Church
Some of the biggest judges are in the church. It’s crazy how much judging goes on in the church. We think we’re better than other people because we found Jesus. I’m pretty sure that’s a position that Jesus would not accept or support. We’re not supposed to elevate ourselves and think we’re better because we found Jesus. We’re supposed to love and serve others because we found Jesus.
When we’re around nonbelievers or unchurched people we definitely should not make them feel uncomfortable.
There are scores of people that have walked away from “church life” because they were made to feel like they didn’t belong, or didn’t measure up in some way, shape or form. And if that has happened to folks that are brave enough to come to church, imagine how many people outside the church don’t want to be part of the church because they feel Christians are judgmental and look down their noses at everyone else.
Jesus doesn’t fit the judgmental model. Jesus always found the pathway to grace. Take the way he handled the woman caught in adultery for example. He had the law behind him which meant He could have demanded she be put to death. Could you imagine if that had happened? Picture it….all His buddies would show up at the stoning with signs that said, “God Hates Whores.” But He doesn’t do that! What He does is genius! Read about it in John Chapter 8.
The Calling of the Church
The calling of the church is not to judge. We’re called to love. And to love like Jesus, unconditionally.
Love will do way more healing than judging will. Judgmental glares can wound people to the core. Today, a single hurtful action by a Christian can drive hesitant believers from church and do almost irreparable damage.
Martin Luther King, Jr. said “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
We should speak softly and love loudly.