…about me, that is.
In my 43 years of life, I have often “worried” about what people thought about me. I’ve always wanted to be seen as a “nice guy” who “cared about other people”. But here’s the deal: I don’t care what people think anymore. I don’t care if they think I’m weird. I don’t care if they don’t like how I live. I don’t care if they like the choices I make. I don’t care if they like the people I hang out with. I don’t care if they like my tattoos, or my bald head, or the style of facial hair I choose to wear on a particular day of the week.
I don’t care if they like the way I dress or the fact that I am a geek. I don’t care if they like my shoes or my house or the style of glasses sitting on the bridge of my nose.
BUT…. I do care how people see me as a follower of Jesus Christ. I’m glad that people think I’m weird because I don’t like a lot of the things in this world.
- I’m not crazy about material possessions; I have better things to do with my money than to “own stuff”. I have nothing against you owning stuff, and I’ve owned my share of stuff, but I don’t need it just for the sake of having it. If it doesn’t have a purpose in causing happiness or helping others come to know Christ or if I can’t share it with others, then I don’t need it.
- I don’t like sin, but I don’t judge others for their sin. That is not my job, it is God’s. And if I choose to have friends who “look like sinners”, it’s because I care about them and want them to know Christ through knowing me. The apostle Paul said: “I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.” I don’t like the fact that, as the church, we have somehow gotten the idea that being a Christian means being offended by everything. We are so busy criticizing everyone around us that we forget to love them. When Jesus told us to “Go…” He didn’t mean to “Go be offended by everything!” His Great Commission was to “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” His greatest commandment was to “love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” He said the second greatest commandment was to “love thy neighbor as thyself.” I know God hates sin and we should hate sin, too… but I have never read any teaching of Christ that says we should hate the sinner! On the contrary, we are supposed to love people and teach them about the love of God and the good news of Jesus Christ.
- A lot of the Christians I know think I’m nuts. But I have to say: There is a mile-wide gap between “knowing Jesus Christ is your savior” and “knowing Him as Lord”. Dr. Randy Davis was able to articulate this in a way I had never quite heard before when he said QUOTE: “The ‘lordship’ of Jesus Christ is different than knowing Him as your Savior. When you know Christ as ‘Lord’ then things in your life are different and you live your life for Him.” END QUOTE I know that the act of doing good things does not get you into heaven, but I believe that there should be evidence of your salvation through the way you live your life. If we are living the same way the rest of the world lives, then we are missing the boat. I think that’s what Christ meant when he said “Not everyone who says to Me, “Lord, Lord,” shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.”
- “Holier than thou” isn’t a bad thing… it just depends on how it is presented to the world. If it is a mean-spirited and judgmental attitude towards others then it is wrong. But If it is offering our lives through obedience to the will of God, then it is absolutely right! Being righteous by its true definition is a good thing; being SELF-righteous is a bad thing. Being holy is a good thing when it means setting yourself apart as a holy, living sacrifice to God. Turning that into judgmental self-righteousness is wrong. If I may be so bold, this is what keeps millions of people from coming to know Christ… the self-righteous attitude of many Christians sitting in church pews who have somehow gotten it wrong. Condemning people to hell is not the same thing as loving them to Christ.
- Worship doesn’t sanctify your life; your life sanctifies your worship. Sanctify (v) – To make holy; purify. A buddy of mine, Rob Harris, preached a sermon on this topic years ago and I have never forgotten it. One of the best sermons I’ve ever heard. The fact that you attend church on Sunday doesn’t make you any better than anyone else. If you go to church on Sunday with the idea that it sanctifies the rest of your week then you’ve got it backwards. Instead, the way you live your life all week long makes your worship on Sundays pleasing to God… not the other way around. If you live a sinful life all week, then you go to church on Sunday hoping to make it right, I think God knows better. It’s called hypocrisy and is another thing that keeps people from coming to church.
Well, that is the longest rant I’ve had a quite some time. I just had to get some things off my chest that have really been bothering me lately. I know a lot of people, myself included, who have gotten mixed up over the years. But if we boil it all down, Christ said to “GO” and to “LOVE”. He wants us to care about people, not to hate them. Hate the sin, love the sinner. And understand that “we are all sinners who have fallen short of the glory of God.” I wish my church had a big, fat banner outside that said “SINNERS WELCOME”. Maybe I’ll suggest that at the next board meeting to see how it goes. 😀