July 10, 2010

people are people

"The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians, who acknowledge Jesus with their lips and walk out the door, and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable."
-Brennan Manning

I recently heard a comment made about professing Christians . . . how a majority of people call themselves Christians, but a small few actually are living in consistency with that claim.

It was a comment made by a co-worker, about co-workers.

I have to admit that it bothered me to the point that I had a dream about it last night . . . and I fear that I'm one of the people they don't see as truly living out what I claim to believe or follow.

I started to fear that my actions/words aren't lining up with my beliefs - and that maybe I just need to try harder in front of this person, or anyone, for that matter.

I've wrestled with that thought, and I know that ultimately it's really between me and God. God is the only one who knows our hearts, our true motives, what we're truly seeking in this life.

Plus, if I tried to impress this person by trying to "act Christian," then I'm really idolizing that person's opinion and chasing that rather than seeking God's opinion of me (and after all, isn't His opinion of me infinitely more important than anyone else's?).

I also firmly believe that none of us have the authority or ability to judge where a person's heart is. You never know what someone is going through, or what they're trying to work out. We also have to remember that we're all broken, sinful people - and God is ridiculously faithful to us, though we continually stray and run after false gods.

I want to live a life that displays the Gospel, a life of thankfulness and worship in response to what God has done for me. I want the way I live to reflect that, and I hope it does . . . but I also know that I am a work in progress, and that I've got plenty of flaws.

I do, however, hope that this comment can challenge me more than serve as a discouragement. I want God to show me the areas of my life that I am holding back and haven't fully surrendered to Him. I want the way I live to show off the Gospel, not turn people away.

You know what else is slightly amusing . . . is that for being a people who believe in grace, we sure do suck at loving each other. Christians are horrible at loving each other. I think that some of the most difficult people I've encountered are Christians. You think I'm lying, but I'm serious!

Again . . . we are all just people. Broken, flawed sinners in this world. Thank goodness we have a God who loves ALL of us . . . even when we're in our worst self-righteous states, or when we're spitting in His face. No one is too far from His love, His unfathomable faithfulness and grace.

We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
-Isaiah 53:6

There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
-Romans 3:22-24

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