Apr 2, 2011

Love Thy Neighbor as Thyself

I am a Christian.  I am not perfect and will never claim to be.  But I am often annoyed by other Christians who work very hard to cover up their imperfections, or explain away the ones they can't hide.  Some people do it because of their own shame or unworthy feelings.  But many do it because they are judgemental and hypocritical.  They need to look perfect so that they can look down their noses at others.

The photo at left, is one that I imagine COULD be found outside of an actual church, I'm really not sure if it is or not.  But it makes me wonder, is that the image we want to portray?  Are we not called to live by 'the golden rule?"  Is this how you'd really want someone to 'do unto you?'  I understand the sentiment behind it.  As a Christian I am taught, and believe that Jesus is the the truth and the light and the ONLY way to Heaven.  I'm taught that sin is what keeps us separated from God and that we need a Savior to redeem us from those sins.  But why do so many Christians seem to think that threatening hell will convert anyone to their way of thinking.  As a parent, I will confess to using fear as an instrument of learning.  My kids learned not to run into the street not because, its impolite or could cause traffic delays, but because they were taught early and often that running in front of a car could lead to serious pain if not death!  I find that for at least the early years, this IS an effective tactic.  But then, after 8 or so years of never actually seeing someone being hit by a car, the fear subsides a little.  I won't say that my kids are looking to tempt fate and intentionally jumping in front of oncoming traffic or anything but they ARE getting a little lax in their fear and become more casual when meandering through parking lots. 

I simply don't think that fear is an effective tool for change.  Especially not when you're trying to convince someone of a faith that it supposed to be filled with hope, joy and peace.  

You know what I've found to be much more effective in teaching my kids....setting an example.  Despite what I'm sure will someday be their serious dismay, my kids are small little replicas of myself and my husband.  There isn't a day that goes by that I don't see something out of my kids and think to myself, "OMG, that's SO me!"  Sometimes, seeing that insights change and sometimes pride.  But the point being that if we called to use our time on this earth to share the Gospel with people, is it really effective to breath down their necks about how they must commit their life to Christ or face and eternity in Hell?  Is it not much more effective to live a life of faith, complete with your imperfections, being open and authentic and hope that through your example they will grow to want to have what you have?  

As I said, I am NOT perfect.  I can definitely be my own form of judgemental on a fairly regular basis.  But I am always shocked when I see supposed Christians bashing any group of people.  Whether its Atheists, homosexuals or anyone else.  Yes, the Bible teaches that some things are wrong, they are sins.  But I sure as heck don't want anyone standing on my door step screaming at me about my gluteny.  See that's a sin too!  And in my Bible, God says sin is sin.  Whether I eat too much, gossip, have premarital sex or a whhole host of other sins, it's a sin.  And Jesus himself said let he who is without sin cast the first stone.  So why are so many stones being cast????  We are all God's children and should be loved as such.  I may not agree with your views or your life style but I can still love you. 

I don't understand why Christians today work so hard to shelter themselves from "the world."  Exactly who are you spreading the Word to if you are not out in 'the world?'  How are you possibly being the person you are called to be if you are not out, loving God's children regardless of their age, creed or preferences?  If you are afraid to show your own flaws or doubts, have you considered who you might have convinced that they aren't good enough or don't believe enough to be Christian?

As Easter approaches, we prepare ourselves for the celebration of Christ's resurrection but we also acknowledge that he is to return again.  If he were to return today, could you stand tall knowing you are living a life he would be proud of, he the man who ate with the tax collectors and the prostitutes.  He, who wanted nothing to with the 'Godly' men but came to seek and save the lost.  Are you living a life that attracts people to the faith or are you too busy keeping up a fake facade or steering clear of those who aren't like minded?


10 comments:

  1. That doesn't look like it was outside a church. It looks like it considers Christians and Jews friends, because they are something else that believes in G-d, and I think it's just meant to be funny. It really is.

    Atheists have been buying ad space, especially around religious holidays, encouraging people to doubt G-d. Religious people have a right to respond.

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  2. Stopping from the UBP'11! I think we are called to share Him with the world.

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  3. I have always looked at it this way: We may not all have the same reglious beliefs, but that doesn't mean that we have to belittle other people's beliefs.

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  4. I think it is meant to be a joke but if I were to see that at a church, I'd second guess my choice because that just screams judgmental.

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  5. Happy Easter, I am a Christian and I am not perfect and never claimed to be. I hope the sign is a joke. I pray it isn't at a church

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  6. Eloquently stated! I was nodding my head through your post in agreement :)

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  7. Stopping by to follow from UBP11
    www.mamalovesherbargains.com

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  8. I've always felt like those who are the ones making the judgements - especially aloud or to others - are the ones who are the least certain about themselves and least comfortable about what they do, why they do it, etc.

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  9. whether or not it's a real sign outside a church, I agree with what you had to say. Part of the reason that I don't really practice a religion anymore (though I do believe in God and I do pray, etc)is because often those who preach about judging do the most judging themselves - religion-wise.

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