A very good friend of mine, Courtney Buss, recently asked this question at the end of a post on her blog. The blog was asking how the world has come to think poorly of Christians and how we’ve been the cause of this thinking. Here’s the question.
So where are we? What do we do? Where have we been and where are we headed? And if where we’re headed isn’t where we need to be headed, how to we change directions? What needs to be done? How are you helping change the reputation of Christ in the world today (or maybe not His, but those of us that are following Him)? I want specifics, I want comments, and I want wisdom imparted on me and everyone else that reads this blog. How are we going to turn this world upside down for Christ? How can the Gospel be played out in our world today; what are the world’s needs? If we don’t have a plan yet, don’t you think we need to be developing one?
Here’s the comment I left on the blog. I realize it may be arrogant of me to think you should read a comment I posted on another blog. But for those of you who know me well, you know it’s not arrogance that makes me post this. You know I just like to hear myself talk. Ha! Seriously, I post this here so these thoughts that Courtney brings up can be continued. Please go over to her blog and add some of your thoughts.
Here is my comment to her blog question…
I’ve come to some conclusions lately about all this. I’ve decided it’s true that nobody makes God look any worse than Christians on many occasions. It’s also true that we can be the best proof of the resurrection of Jesus as people see our changed lives. But I think I’m being shown that the reason we often make God look bad is because we make it all too difficult. If every story in the Bible whispers the name of Jesus, from the creation to the prophets to the gospels, then to be who God is calling us to be we must make every encounter in our lives whisper the name of Jesus also.
We’ve spent far to long assuming the Bible is a book about what we should be doing when it’s really a book about what God is doing. We just need to have enough mercy toward people to join Him. And if we dont’ see ourselves as joining God’s story, then we can allow ourselves to go on thinking we’re worthy of God based on our sacrifices for Him; sacrifices of speaking our mind to people, sacrifices of not caring what others think of our faith, sacrifices of trying to fix other people’s faults, sacrifices of money and time.
But Jesus says He wants mercy, not sacrifice. Mercy says, in the sermon on the mount, that if you want to be called a child of God then become known as a peace maker. And yes, mercy can still speak its mind and not care what others think and help others fix their faults and not count the cost of investing money and time. But mercy must keep its focus of bringing peace. And if it doesn’t bring peace, then we must rethink our motives and methods.
Our lives and words and attitudes must bring peace if we are to ever be known as children of God. And we must be known as children of God before anyone will ever believe that we know the way home to God.