TITLE: Ashamed to Be a Christian
By Matthew Morgan
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“STOP THAT RIGHT NOW!” roared the preacher from the church platform, stomping his foot on the hollow wood, releasing a demanding boom that resounded off the walls of the church. His voice a callous thunder, he bellowed a diatribe rivaling the loudest Pentecostal preachers of old.
He drove his point into his congregation as delicately as a man etching glass with a sledgehammer and a chisel, calling their evils by name, pronouncing the condemnation that their actions had brought upon them.
But in reality, the preacher - a sound technician - roared in anger at his congregation - a man contracted to install a video projector at the large church. He committed his “sin” when he moved some of the stage equipment.
The installer, a coworker of mine, would never have stepped foot in a church out of his own free will. But a church had succeeded in bringing him in as a captive audience. Though the event was not a Sunday service, he heard the message of Christians: they are intolerant, spiteful, and rude. I am ashamed to be one.
This particular church did not initiate this problem. Even the apostle Paul, less than 20 years after Christ’s ascension, met with a false prophet calling himself “BarJesus” - “Son of Jesus.” Since then, times like the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, and the Salem Witch Trials warn Christians what happens when they lose the balance between God’s mercy and His Judgment.
A Christian is a follower of Christ, in the same way an American is called so because he lives in America. His actions reflect others who bear the same name. One can understand why the third commandment states to not take God’s name in “vain.” Many times, the interpretation of this passage only limits the phrases that follow smashing one’s thumb with a hammer.
To take something in vain means to use it without its proper power or respect. When Christians blatantly offend the truths behind the name of Christ, they take that name in vain. Those people make me ashamed to be a Christian.
Make no mistake - I am not ashamed of Christ. Christ was strong and stern, and soft and compassionate. Mark tells the story of Jesus feeding a crowd of 5000 (Mark 6:30-44). The event started when Jesus and His disciples tried to take a much-needed break, but people saw them and flocked to them. Though hungry and tired, Jesus did not turn them away.
Jesus never had interruptions. Though costing him food and sleep, He always made time for people. They were not an inconvenience to His life; they were His life.
I wish that I could be like Him. I am painfully aware of my shortcomings when I compare myself to Him, and I regret the times in the past in which I have left people feeling the same way about Christians as I feel now – ashamed.
I know now that I cannot pick up my Christianity and lay it down when it becomes inconvenient. Christ sternly warned in Luke 9:57-62 that He did not want half-committed people – those who started to plow and looked back. He set the example; during His work on the cross, He held it despite its “inconvenience.” He did not lay it down to take a break or become angry at the mockers in the crowd. He simply finished the task at hand.
The cross is synonymous with Christ. To wear His name is to carry His cross. And once that cross is placed on our backs, we cannot let it go; we are committed to death. Dead people do not become offended, inconvenienced, or peeved.
We need to remember this at the grocery store, or on the freeway. We always bear the name of Christ. We need to look for opportunities to share Christ – not just on Sunday mornings, but seven days a week. We need to represent the name of Christ well. We need to live so others will be unashamed.
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