The Church in the United State of America, as you read this piece, is being accused of hypocrisy. In fact, someone plainly said that the church is passionately propagating the “gospel of us versus them”, to whoever cares to listen or believe, in an attempt to rationalize injustice, and hide its inability to speak up against growing trends of racism in “the land of the free and the home of the brave”.
Furthermore, many Christians and non- Christians hypothesize that the church had used and is still using biblical scriptures to create a mistaken impression about the faith, and further cause division along color, class, culture, gender and party in local communities.
To this group of individuals, keeping quite is not an option as some of them are calling for a spiritual dialogue to address the misdeed. But on the contrary, the idea of encouraging the church to begin to preach more Christ-like theories instead of cultural dogma seems to spark an unnerving feeling in many professing Christians. Why we chose to live in denial or draw conclusions from assumptions instead of approaching the reality of the situation on ground with Christ-like examples is something I am still trying to fathom.
For the most part, some Christians proudly function with the notion that they are being hated because of their “stand for truth”. They celebrate sentences like “people hate us because we are saying the truth”. Well, my response to such people is that just because people hate you for what you say or stand for doesn’t mean that you are standing for Christ. You might be standing for a belief that God frowns at.
The culture of “divide and conquer”, introduced into the Christian faith by politicians and racist preachers is ripping Christian relationships apart. Then, if this is the culture we want to continue living in, where then is the fulfillment of the biblical subject of love, mercy and grace? Is the gospel supposed to be about our personality or denomination? My guess is as good as yours.
Generally, the gospel (good news) is not about us. It is about Christ. Moreover, there is great danger in making people focus on who we are instead of on whose we are. We are a people saved and sent by The God of love to love without prejudice.
Let us take a close look at Paul the Apostle’s comment on love in 1 Corinthians chapter 13 from verses 1 to 9.
“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears.”1 Corinthians 13: 1 -9
Our purpose in life is to relate with those that are yet to encounter Jesus Christ with full dependence on the Holy Spirit to help us produce the fruits of the spirit, and to extend grace, love and service to others, while submitting to and giving glory to God.
Here is a funny question, If the watching world has the opportunity to rename us (Christians), or give us another name based on how we relate today, what sort of titles or names do you think they would give us?
I know many Christians are of the perception that they care more about God’s response than of the world’s conclusions. That is not a bad conclusion. However, it is central we remember that, as indicated in John chapter verse 16 God loves the world too.
Like many, I celebrate the growing trend of showcasing our great Sunday Services, programs, wonderful sermons, beautiful set ups and well-built sanctuaries. I truly do. I also celebrate how much people we are able to get in to our programs and services. It is not easy at all. God be praised for His grace on great minds and volunteers that are able to make this happen. However, there is need to look forward to celebrating testimonies of how we do not leave Christ like instructions and sermons in the four walls of our sanctuaries. Also, we hope to start celebrating how our Christian faith is making our societies, offices and neighborhood awesome and influenced positively.
For one thing, our words, elegant Sunday cloths, well-crafted Facebook post, strong knowledge of the scriptures, how many Bible verses we can quote, or how often we attend church and Bible studies does not speak of God’s love to the people who need it.
Non-Christians will come to know about Christ and God if we show and act out our love for and to them, and not by how much great possessions we flaunt.
By and large, our lives attitude and response to people and things around us should be influenced and shaped by God’s instructions and commandments. To all believers in the Christian faith, I like to encourage that it is time to reverse the gospel of “us versus them” and practice true Christianity as embalmed in the Bible.