Sunday, March 23, 2014
Ever heard that term? People throw it around when things go wrong to try to undermine a Christian's faith when they don't see what we see, feel what we feel, know what we know. And you know what? That's fine with me.
If I don't get what someone else keeps talking about - especially when it is so subjective - I question it as well. We are brought up in this country, for the most part, on science and facts. If you can prove it, then it is. Prove it. PROVE IT.
Think about it. Our education system pushes this line of thinking from day one. We learn rules of grammar, mathematics, writing, science - everything. And then we must "show our work" to prove why what we did was done a certain way and wasn't just pulled out of the air. Because we can't possibly just know something to be true. We must prove it.
So are we really all that surprised as Christians that we are questioned about the validity of our beliefs, our faith, the basis for our knowledge of and trust in Christ? And are we further shocked that when our lives and world aren't "perfect" it makes non-Christians question where our God is now?
Does it ever make you wonder where so many non-Christians get this idea in their heads - that Christians go on and on about "our God" and then sit silent when the world goes sideways? I'll tell you exactly where so many get the idea - from Christians.
Christians who work so hard to portray their lives as awesome and perfect - to make themselves seem so perfect - and sit in judgement over others for their choices. They are going around trying very hard to prove their faith.
Are we forgetting that God gave us free will to makes those choices because he wants us to choose him? He doesn't force himself on us for a reason, and we shouldn't do that to others, either.
Yes, I'm a Christian. A Christian who fails, screams, wants to give up, talks about my faith nonchalantly, often says the wrong thing, has to apologize for my behavior daily ... I'm a work in progress. And I'm a Christian. And I believe that none of those things makes me any less of a Christian than another, it just makes me real. I don't think real people with real issues and behaviors and downfalls are necessarily misrepresenting Christianity. We are all the forgiven. We are all works in progress until the day we leave this earth.
But those who wear their Christian faith alongside hateful judgmental actions, non-acceptance of those who lead lives they do not condone, or simply putting forth an image of righteousness and hiding flaws that make them real - that absolutely is misrepresenting what Christ was all about when he walked this earth and what God tells us we should be doing here.
Christians are helping create the "Where is Your God Now" attitude.
Where is my God now? Right here. Over there. Next door. In the White House. And yes, in the middle of wars and genocide and crime and impoverished countries. He is in the homes of gay people and straight people and people who don't go to church and people who eat crunchy peanut butter on pancakes and put ketchup on ribeye steaks. He is in prison cells. He is in schools. He is there - in those who choose to believe - within all of those places, not just with those living seemingly great lives making all the "right" decisions in this life.
We live in a fallen world, and we are flawed people - each of us. So instead of trying to put forth your "perfect side" to prove your Christian faith, just live it. Show how your faith stands through better or worse. Smile through the crud if you can; and make them ask you why, why your crazy self is smiling.
Love through it. Try to love like Jesus did, not conditionally and based on whether you agree with the person. Just love to show why you are a Christian. And when you break down, show them you know your God is still right there by getting back up and continuing to praise.
And when you really, really screw up, forgive yourself and try again; because God will forgive you.
Then show that same grace to someone who hurts you. Don't sell your faith to someone like a box of Girl Scout cookies - live it for them.
Show them where your God is.