To be honest, sometimes I’m embarrassed to call myself a Christian. I understand that people in the world have only reflected back what some of us “Christians,” project. Sadly, there are many extremely religious people, who call themselves by this name. These misguided ones do not pattern themselves after the true nature of Christ. I will even go as far to say that they really don’t know Jesus, yet call themselves a Christian anyway.
The Jesus I know from the Bible is full of love, grace, mercy and forgiveness. He is not harsh or heavy handed. He is not damningly critical or judgmental. He is slow to anger and by His goodness, will draw humanity to Himself.
Romans 2 (Amplified)
THEREFORE YOU have no excuse or defense or justification, O man, whoever you are who judges and condemns another. For in posing as judge and passing sentence on another, you condemn yourself, because you who judge are habitually practicing the very same things [that you censure and denounce].
2[But] we know that the judgment (adverse verdict, sentence) of God falls justly and in accordance with truth upon those who practice such things.
3And do you think or imagine, O man, when you judge and condemn those who practice such things and yet do them yourself, that you will escape God's judgment and elude His sentence and adverse verdict?
4Or are you [so blind as to] trifle with and presume upon and despise and underestimate the wealth of His kindness and forbearance and long-suffering patience? Are you unmindful or actually ignorant [of the fact] that God's kindness is intended to lead you to repent ([a]to change your mind and inner man to accept God's will)?
I was recently watching a program about a couple of guys who run into an alien in the desert. The show was witty and heartwarming at first. Then about half way through I became painfully aware that the writers of the movie saw Christians as radically unbalanced, stupid haters of mankind.
The alien character announced that we have all come from extraterrestrials, therefore there are no absolutes. He was implying that there was no Heaven or Hell, no God or devil. After all, if we were not created by God, then it was all just by chance and circumstance. Essentially, he was saying there is no right or wrong.
What was disturbing the most about the movie was that it depicted Christians as pathetic, mindless beings who were only worthy of humiliation and the butt of jokes. When those in the world see hate, judgment and fanaticism in people who call themselves Christians, it does great damage to our witness for Christ!
The enemy of God does all He can to magnify the bad behavior in these religious Pharisees. I will be the first to say that there are those extremist out there, who spew garbage out of their mouth faster than a New York minute. These extremist are not being led by the Spirit of God, but by the spirit of the enemy. Their wicked and unloving behavior is a sure sign of this. The Bible says that there will be those, who in the last hour, profess to be followers of Christ, but will be rejected by Jesus.
Matthew 7 (King James Version)
21Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
22Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
23And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity (wickedness).
The key is not to just profess Christianity, but to actually know Christ.
The Fear Factor
Some ministries try to use the “fear factor,” to win souls for Christ. Father God, however, did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7) So if we think that scaring people will drive them into the arms of the Lord, we are sorely mistaken. Though we may be able to temporarily startle them into believing in Jesus, it will never last.
It will never stick because the very nature of Christ goes against what they are teaching. They are false teachers and false prophets. Jesus is not an evil dictator waiting to slam you over the head with a hammer. Fear does not come from God and anyone who tries to manipulate people through fear is not projecting the character of Christ.
If the true Body of Christ does not rise up and reflect the honest nature of the Lord, then we are in great jeopardy of seriously endangering millions of souls’ eternal destination. Young people today need to see the compassion of Christ. The world already has enough violence and hatred. We as followers of Christ have an obligation to represent Jesus as He really is not as these religious nut jobs have painted Him out to be. In order to do this we must grow in our relationship with Jesus Christ. We cannot just know about Him. We must genuinely know Him and He must genuinely know us to be worthy to be called a Christian.
I encourage everyone who reads this and claims to be a Christian to really evaluate what it is you are doing to win people to the Lord. Are you walking with Jesus or walking away from Him. What kind of witness are you?
For more writings by Rochelle go to www.rochellearnold.com. Online book available called: SOJOURNERS: In a Strange Land.