I like your Christ; I do not like your Christians…
“I like your Christ; I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” This is a quote from philosopher/civil rights leader Mahatma Gandhi. These words sting a little, don’t they? I can’t conclude whether a statement like this is “fair” or not. I suppose it depends on the representative sample one draws from. We all know some Christians who seem to live pretty much as Christ directs. And sadly, we know some that make us wonder if they really know Jesus at all.
What I have concluded over the years is that I cannot take the credit or the blame for what people say about Christians in general. I am responsible for what they say about me and what they see in me that attracts them to Jesus or turns them away. I believe this responsibility is true for you as well if you claim to be a Christ-follower. But we must be careful not to dismiss a comment like Gandhi’s. Whether spoken or not, many “non-Christians” share Gandhi’s perspective. Frankly, I myself could identify with that in my“non-Christian” days although in my naivety I didn’t know enough about Jesus’ character and lifestyle to offer a respectable opinion. (But that didn’t keep me from having an opinion and holding up a “score card”) I do know that then, as now, hypocritical behavior looks pretty much the same. And “fair” or not, people not of faith still expect people of faith to live by higher standards. I believe God does as well, wouldn’t you agree? Are you sensitive to how your “witness” or representation of Christ appears in the circles you travel?
Christians do get bashed a lot and much of it may be unfair. This is the baggage many church visitors bring with them as well as many of the people who are taking a chance and trying to explore “faith” or “church”once again after having been previously hurt or disappointed. Let’s be honest here. We all will get around to disappointing others somewhere down the line if we see enough of each other and rarely will we “across the board” meet the expectations others have for us. Only Jesus does that. And we are still fragile and incomplete representations of Him.
Just as Jesus “atoned” for our sins because our personal best was not sufficient to meet God’s
standard of “right living,” so we today must offer the real Jesus to those who want to understand and see what our faith is really about. The inquirer today may say, “I would like to believe in Christ, but I have never seen a Christian that was like Christ. “ (Let’s take no offense at that comment or debate it). Instead, let us respond by proposing that we are not “offering” them Christians, we are “offering” them Christ! And from there, let us in our humility and imperfect way, open the gospels to them so that they can see the “real deal,” Jesus, for themselves. Christians can most certainly be obstacles to faith. Jesus is hard to resist. Think About It.