I like to start by apologizing for my long absence from blogging. My work tasks took the best of me for a long time. I am so glad to be back.
During the period of work and travel and what have you. I got the opportunity to meet with colleagues from different faiths and parts of the world. In one of our usual round table lunch gist questions popped up on Christ and Christianity.
This particular conversation actually started with American football as subject and gradually centered on a particular born again player who expresses his faith in God freely and is not ashamed to scribble verses from the bible on parts of his body as he plays and also kneels to pray in public after a game. The blow up was that this born again football player is overdoing things.
I asked most of them several questions just as they threw lots and lots back to me while they shared their genuine encounters and first hand experiences. I listened to their stories quietly and interestingly. At the end I figured out that most of them are good people who met bad Christians. I am not being judgmental by saying good people meet bad Christians. It is just the truth we all have failed to accept. They are good people who have problem reconciling words with attitude of Christians they have met. To be precise, most of them followed colleagues and family to church for functions and were taken aback by messages they heard from the and doctrines preachers encouraged the Christians to practice and honor. I am not surprised as I have also heard a lot of trash in the name of charismatic message from “powerful and anointed ministers”.
In this case, what really baffled most of them was how the congregants gave their blessings to obnoxious ideologies even when it encouraged hostility, greed, acrimony and bitterness. It not only amazed them but also challenged the little knowledge they came with, which is, Christ and Christianity an epitome of love, care, patience forgiveness etc. In their words “they gave up ever going to church or becoming Christians because they feel they don’t belong there”
Seriously, it is one thing to dent our image as individuals, but it is another thing to misrepresent Jesus Christ with using the gospel as a conduit.
The question is how do we misrepresent Christ? Have we really been representing Him? I would say yes we do and would defend my conclusion on that.
The bible says in John 3:16
“For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life. For God did not send the Son into the world in order to judge (to reject, to condemn, to pass sentence on) the world, but that the world might find salvation and be made safe and sound through Him.” (John 3:16, 17 AMP)
From the verses above, you and I would agree that Jesus Christ came to love and save the world. While on earth, He engendered a lifestyle that radiated His heart which is also the heart of God. His messages in gatherings brought smiles and happiness to many. He taught forgiveness, love and fellowship. In some occasions he rebuked the teachers of the law who chose to lord over people. Why then do we preach bitterness, condemnation, lies and attribute it to Him today? Like one of my friends mentioned last week, ‘why then have we chosen to magnify portions of the scriptures that only gratifies our selfish human ego and pockets, and ignored key ones that challenge our human frailties and proclivities? Why do we raise Christians to look down on non Christians? Why do believers become sworn enemies with fellow believers only because they don’t belong to the same local assembly? Why should people who question questionable doctrines and practices be declared enemies of the state? Where did we get that from? We are misrepresenting Christ when we try to live the way of Jesus Christ without the heart of Christ. If only we would always remember that been in the building we call church is not the same as being in Christ.
The great commission as given by the master Jesus is not to gather in a building and force people to do things we do which make us look good. It involves showcasing a platinum rule of love and life that speaks of someone whom we learn from or belong to as we continue to live in a world with a twisted view of Jesus Christ, God and the church.
John 10:16 says:
“And I have other sheep [beside these] that are not of this
fold. I must bring and impel those also; and they will listen to My voice and heed My call, and so there will be [they will become] one flock under one Shepherd.” (John 10:16 AMP)
As disciples of Jesus and servants of God, our hold and practical demonstration of biblical positions and Christ-like attitudes should help bring into sheepfold the rest of the sheep The Sheppard died for. Our Job is to catch fishes. God will clean them.
David D Dimas