I was raised in a Christian church. I will not even say the denomination because it doesn’t matter. I met many good people in that church. I learned about the Bible and I made life-long friends there. My parents and my grandparents attended the same church. My husband and I married in it. Twenty-five years later, we are members there.
I have been upset to see that Christians as a whole are a group that Hollywood and the media are comfortable criticizing and tarring with the same brush. I believe other religions, no matter how obscure, are being treated with more consideration than Christianity.
One problem with this is there are millions of Christians and at least hundreds of denominations. Some so-called Christians have become public disgraces. This does not mean that all Christians are bad people, or that Christianity is not an admirable religion.
I guess one problem—and if I weren’t a Christian, I wouldn’t say this—is that Christians can be bad press for Christianity. I cannot tell you how many times I have cringed when some reputedly Christian group has gotten in the news for being hypocritical, or intolerant.
Frankly, Christianity deserves better. When an individual in my church, for example, becomes a Christian or a member of the church, she is admitting that she is imperfect. She is admitting that she is in need of Christ and his salvation. This is humility, not arrogance. In fact, the individual is stating that she finds herself in need of someone greater than herself.
I do not consider myself as having the right to criticize anyone, including other Christians. As a Christian, I consider people to be the same in God’s sight. Christ, himself, lived a humble life and associated with people that his society considered to be beneath them. This is not an example of arrogance to be followed. Just the opposite in fact.
The truth is, with the best will in the world, no Christian can live a perfect life, only Christ could do that. His followers can only believe in him, study, pray and accept His Grace. This means a Christian’s actions cannot achieve salvation, only her beliefs in Christ and acceptance of him can achieve salvation.
This probably sounds esoteric, but what I’m trying to show is that a lot of people calling themselves Christians are acting in a totally non-Christian manner. Christ when faced with a woman caught in adultery did not judge her. According to the custom of her time, she was to be stoned to death. Christ said to those who were prepared to kill her, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” The mob disappeared person by person. The woman was let go.
This example does not sound like the intolerant people who accuse and judge others, supposedly in the name of Christianity. So please don’t judge Christianity according to the actions of Christians. Christians, like the rest of the human race, are flawed and imperfect, and often not good examples of the very religion they attempt to represent.
I have a friend who is a Christian who says that we are hypocrites to call ourselves Christians because we could never follow Christ’s example enough to be worthy of his name. Although I don’t know if Christian theologians would agree with him, I certainly understand the sentiment.
There is a place in the New Testament that states that Christians are guilty of a great evil if by their actions they lead others away from Christ. So, as a Christian who is well aware of my own imperfections, I ask that you not judge Christianity by its flawed followers. We are not worthy of Christ and that is the crux of it. If we are true Christians, we are the first to admit we are unworthy.