Tuesday, July 29, 2014

What Kind of Christian are You???

I remember when the word "Christian" meant "follower of Christ" and Christians cared for the sick, the poor, refugees, and showed love for all mankind. Oh, wait... it still does!  But now the term has been twisted by right-wing extremists so that it seems to mean, "self-serving haters of the down-trodden, sick, poor, or any other race." It's to the point one must ask, "What kind of Christian are you?"

Don't get me wrong. I'm not suggesting that Christians live on some type of moral high-ground, doing all the good in the world. Not at all. Sure, there are countless examples of people, even whole congregations, doing wonderful things in the name of Jesus, sharing His love and example by building homes, buying coats for cold people, and sharing food. But you don't have to be Christian to do this... you just have to be a good person and love others. Tons of people do the same things every day without a thought towards Jesus or any type of religion at all. It's just what caring people do.

In this case, how did these things become associated with being Christian? Or, just as important, why would it be a problem if these things were NOT done? Yes, there are poor people. Always have been, always will be. Sure, there are sick people. Tough luck. No reason to go out of your way to change that, right? Besides, some of "them" aren't like "us" and so it really doesn't make sense to help them out, right? Matter of fact, it doesn't make sense to waste valuable tax money on educating poor people, or helping them have a place to live, or food to eat.. it's not like they'll go away if we do. There will just be more poor people to take their place. No, much smarter to use this money to help out your friends and take lavish trips.  

But that's NOT right. How do I know? Because Jesus said"When I was hungry, you gave me something to eat, and when I was thirsty, you gave me something to drink. When I was a stranger, you welcomed me, and when I was naked, you gave me clothes to wear. When I was sick, you took care of me, and when I was in jail, you visited me."  The good people around him asked, "When did we do that?" He answered, "Whenever you did it for others no matter how unimportant they seemed, you did it for me."  (Matthew 25:35-40)

There are folks running around, spouting off about being Christian, but they hate others. "Love your neighbor" only counts if they happen to love their neighbor, and it doesn't extend to strangers that can't help them at all. The reason for reminding others they're Christian is for selfish reasons at times, but nonetheless, this is their claim. It might be good for their business and sure helps for political reasons. 

But there's a reason they feel the need to say it so much... because you wouldn't know otherwise.   Showing hatred towards others is not Christ-like.  Taking away needed services such as education and food are not Christ-like. Screaming hateful things towards others is not Christ-like. Where is the compassion? the mercy? the generosity? the love?  

This is an extremely distressing situation to me.. I'm not used to feeling ashamed of people that claim to represent my faith. it angers me to be in this position, which in turn bothers me for feeling anger towards them.  All I know is what Jesus taught, and showed by example. I'm far from perfect, but it doesn't stop me from trying to live by His example.

"Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they?" (Matthew 7:15-16)  The fruits of the spirit (of God) are love, joy, peace, longsuffering (patience), kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, and self-control.  Considering we are all known by our fruits (our results), some of these fruits are missing in action.  

Non-Christians see those that call themselves Christians protest funerals, scream hateful things at refugee children, and use their clout to cut back Headstart programs, benefits for Veterans, and food stamps. They see them refuse to treat those of different races fairly, and deny people's rights if they disagree with them.  Is it any wonder some non-Christians think Christians are mean hypocrites?

It isn't that "Christians" are like this, but that those false Christians are not following Christ, and therefore, are not Christians, despite whatever label they claim.  

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