I had a revelation today.
In thinking about all the hypocritical statements and actions by those claiming to be Christians down through the years, I found myself typing out what almost seemed to be an apology to an atheist on a Facebook post. He made a comment about “those bible-thumpers,” and how “they” never live out the faith they claim to follow. It’s a valid point, to be certain, as a plethora of deplorable deeds have been carried out “in the name of God.”
I typed, “Hey, not all of us are like that, bro. The crazy stuff people do in the name of religion and ‘God’ make me want to quote from ‘The Incredibles’ movie and scream, ‘You’re not affiliated with me!’”
Then I paused, and…
Delete delete delete delete delete.
I didn’t even respond to the man.
“I’m not going to apologize for others,” I thought. “I’m just going to try and live my life the best I can.”
In Jesus’ day, the biggest hypocrites around were the Pharisees. He addressed this in the latter part of Matthew 23:3, saying, “(T)hey don’t practice what they preach.”
That’s pretty blunt, don’t you think?
I will agree with those who say all Christians are hypocrites, in the sense that we’re not perfect, and never will be. At least not in this lifetime. Romans 3:23 says, “All of us have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory.” We’ll never do everything right. We’ll always be fully dependent on our Savior to cleanse us from unrighteousness.
In that sense, TECHNICALLY, we’re all hypocrites, I suppose. That being said, I don’t get hung up on it. I just try and do my best every day, and when I fall short, I ask God to forgive me and go on. Try and do better the next day.
However, I’ve met all sorts of whacked out people claiming to be followers of Christ.
We all have, I guess. People cite the Crusades as a reason why they don’t follow our Lord. Others will point to natural disasters or famine, asking, “Where was your God then?” I’m no theologian, and won’t try to wax eloquent with dogmatic explanations for why bad things happen to good people.
Except to say, being a Christian doesn’t exclude us from darkness and tragedy; it just gives us a safety net when it DOES happen.
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs, and don’t forget to thank him for his answers. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)”
Faithful, devoted Muslims beg us not to judge all “the good ones” based on the radicals we hear about in the news.
Caucasians ask other races to not paint us with the same brush as those KKK simpletons.
Good-hearted African Americans who truly desire societal change by peaceful and educated means are viewed by some as being akin to the few violent extremists whose pictures are splattered all over the Internet.
But here’s my revelation: Why should those of us who follow God have to apologize for the actions of fallacious dissidents? I can’t answer for the deeds of others. Why should we who choose Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior be held to a different standard than all other races and religions who call it “hatred” and “bigotry” to be imprinted with the same label as fanatics and radicals?
Some will say we’re held to a higher standard in the fact that we believe our God is the one, TRUE God. Yes, but my point is only this: I refuse to be embarrassed by the behavior of the lunatic fringe.
Don’t paint me in the same corner as misguided zealots. Your Pastor had an affair with the church secretary, and then emptied out the church bank account and ran out on his wife? Man, I’m really sorry that happened, but that has nothing to do with me. You had a crazy neighbor in the 80s who went around telling everyone that AIDS was God’s “curse,” sent to “punish homosexuals?”
Yeah, that’s screwed up, but that’s not me. That’s not my family. That’s not my church. Our primary goals as Christians are to, first, love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind and body, and second, to love others (Matthew 22:37-39).
I’m so very sorry you’ve been hurt, but not all of us are like that. You’ve heard the saying, “The cream rises to the top?” Well, in the case of radicals and idiots, “The stupidity rises to the top.” Those are the only ones you hear about on the news, but this doesn’t mean we’re all like that.
The same goes for other religions, races and belief sets as well.
We can’t change what has happened in the past. We cannot control the goings-on of the spiritually chaotic. We can only control our own actions.
My philosophy is, “Follow Christ. LIVE it, every day, and others will take notice.” We may get branded as bigots, hypocrites and haters on social media, but those we live with, socialize and work with us will see our hearts. They’ll know we’re just normal people, trying to follow the path of righteousness.
Let the media trolls rag on you all they want. Don’t take the bait and get into foolish arguments.
Just live the life God has called you to live, and let Him worry about everything else.