I am not ashamed of my beliefs and I am certainly not ashamed of the name of Christ, but I am embarrassed by representation of Christianity that is displayed in this country. Let's be honest, Christians do not have a good image. The moment I identify myself as part of the group, the assumptions begin. Most of those assumptions are not positive.
Many Christians have a tendency to behave as though they are sent from God to tell the world how to behave, I don't want to be lumped in with that group. I don't subscribe to the notion that I can tell other people what to think or believe. I have my own beliefs and, in the right setting, I would love to talk to you about that. They are my beliefs and I came to them while walking my own journey. I ask that you respect my right to have my opinions and I will extend to you that same respect. We don't have to agree to be friends.
One of my dearest friends is an Atheist. We began cautiously talking many years ago. At the time, I was naively worried that conversing to her would somehow decrease my faith. As I grew to know and truly love her as a person, we have had many open exchanges about the topic of faith and God. I have an understanding of her thoughts and how she arrived at her conclusion. I respect her very much! She knows that I pray for her and she is OK with that. I am true to my faith; how could I not pray for her?
She has posed some hard questions which forced me to examine many of the sticky aspects of my beliefs. The end result is that I am stronger in my faith today. I have been blessed through our relationship and I thank God for bringing her into my life. As a Christian, I hope and pray that one day she will come into a relationship with Christ, not because I think she is an evil sinner, but because I believe it would bless her life and bring her peace that she has never known.
I find it curious that I have grown closer to God because of a relationship with someone who doesn't believe in His existence. In all the years I have known her she has never once offended me or hurt my feelings. I wish I could say the same for some of the Christians I have known. Why do so many Christians feel they have the right to condemn or condone the actions of others?
I once saw a report about a group of Christians that protested at a Gay Rights Rally. The Christians were arrested and charged with a hate crime. The interviewer talked with the group and they insisted that they were not full of hate. They said they only attended the rally to tell the gay people that they were sinners and would be going to Hell.(!?!) I found it shocking and, personally, felt they were more hateful than most non-Christians. Sadly, this group of "Christians" represents exactly what people tend to assume about all believers.
I waiver between thinking that Christianity needs a PR makeover or that it needs a full internal overhaul. I am leaning toward the latter. I can't imagine Jesus attending a Gay Rights Rally, picket sign in hand, to tell people they were condemned.
I am not ashamed to call myself a Christian in as much as it relates to my love for Jesus. However, I hate to claim membership in the very public group of "Christians" that represent Jesus so badly.
This post is not about my personal opinions regarding homosexuality or sin in general. It's about the way we treat the other people who inhabit our planet. We've each been divinely created with a purpose. We all have equal access to our creator. Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice for every single one of us, while we were yet sinners!
Often, we might disagree with the choices that other people make, but, in most cases, there's no need to become combative and hateful about our opinions. Christians seem to enjoy talking about the sins they are not currently committing. The Bible is meant to be used a mirror to examine our own actions and correct our wrongs. Far too many use it as a window to view the world, point fingers and enjoy a sense of superiority. If Jesus was humble with the world, and He was, then how would any Christian arrive at the conclusion they they are superior? Doesn't judgement begin in the House of God? Let's get our own act together before we take to the streets to correct everyone else.
Perhaps, if Christians actually learned to love other people and portray Christ in a positive manner, this world might take a different opinion of the church.