Lately, I have become quite irritated with some of the ‘lingo’ that ‘Christians’ use. Especially that word… “Christians.” When people say “I’m a Christian too,” what is that supposed to mean? As if we are all set apart? Is there something that makes us better than others because we are Christians? In fact, there is nothing in the bible (or anywhere for that matter) that says “a Christian is a better person.” In the same way, I must ask: Who decides what is better? What is the standard for being a better person, and who are we to judge? Truthfully, the way we use this term nowadays seems to create a barrier, and widen the gap that has already been created. There is a stigma that seems to be attached to this word which does negative things, rather than positive things for us.
The word “Christian” actually means ‘Christ-one,’ It implies that we belong to Christ, and that we believe that we have been welcomed into his family by accepting the grace that he offers, and if we ask he will ‘forgive us of our transgressions,’ or very literally ‘wipe the slate clean’ for us. It is our way of saying that we are his. As a ‘Christ-One’ we are called to be like Jesus; to love, serve and forgive as he did, but by saying that we are Christians it somewhat defeats the purpose of all of this. It creates a misconception that we are not equal; this is where society gets the ideas that Christians are all delusional, and think they are better than others, which is really not true.
The next thing that I have to ask is this: why do we do this? and it took me a while to realize such a simple answer; we are afraid. Truly, we are afraid to lower ourselves to the sinful status of others. Although, its the human thing to do. We don’t want them to realize that we are just as disobedient as another person. By broadcasting that we are Christians we think we are giving ourselves an upper edge; painting the picture that Christians have it all together, and have their lives on track. But I will personally be the first to testify that my life is not on track. It strays off-track quite a bit in fact, and I am constantly having to turn to my Father to help me get it ‘back on track.’
James 1:22-25– Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a mean who looks at his face in a mirror and after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it-he will be blessed in what he does.
Whether it is a stranger passing by, an acquaintance, or our own best friends, we are guilty of judging others. It is a daily habit; one that has been formatted into our lives from the very beginning. When I distance myself and survey the feelings and thoughts that run through my head I feel astounded that I could be so hateful. When did it become my responsibility to decide what is right and what is wrong for these people? Truthfully, it hasn’t become my responsibility and never will. Yet I take it upon my shoulders to carefully critique the words and actions of others; people who are just trying to live their everyday lives. The way people dress, the way they act, and the way they speak will all fall prey to my terribly judgemental human ways.
I disgust myself by creating the idea that I am a good person when, in fact, I am the complete opposite. I am good on my own terms, and because of that I judge others on the basis and guidelines that I have created for myself. I am good in the way that I have created ‘good’ to be in my head. Yet only God is good. He, the Creator and Holy One, will judge fairly, with the mercy of a loving God.Who am I to decide that because certain people act or speak they way that they do that it is not good enough? When did it occur that everyone should act, think, speak, and do as I do? I judge by the ways of the world; the confused and highly prejudiced ways of the world. But our loving God, who has filled my heart is helping me see what is wrong with my ways. He is showing me little by little what it means to love others, rather than see them through the delusional eyes that I call my own.
James 2:12 – 13
So whatever you say or whatever you do, remember that you will be judged by the law that sets you free. There will be no mercy for those who have not shown mercy to others. But if you have been merciful, God will be merciful when he judges you.
Is that what I am? An enemy of God? I must ask myself what went wrong when I choose the ways of the world over my maker. In the Book of James it says: “You should know that loving the world is the same as hating God. Anyone who wants to be a friend of the world becomes God’s enemy.” As scary as it is to admit it, I must then ‘hate’ the Lord. When I realized this, my first thought was “alright, I guess this means that to hate the world is to love God,” but once again, I realized that I was in the wrong; although it took a lot of frustration, prayer and time for me to understand what the problem was.
During the process of hating the world I found myself becoming miserable. I was disgusted with society, the media, North American lifestyle, and the life entirely; but as I moved along with this resolution to hate the world things got worse and worse. I stopped talking with God; worship songs no longer held meaning, hope was lost, and I found myself in a place where things were going from bad to worse. The word “meaningless” took on a whole new form in my life; it played a role that it had never played for me before. Only by the help a friend (and of course the grace of God) was I able to get off of my knees, and back onto my feet with a little bit of love as my solid ground.
Where had love gone?
I need love.
I need the love of God.
Love begins coming back into my life; with it comes contentment once again. Contentment that I wrote about a few posts before this one. I find that little things no longer shake my world, and I find myself turning to God once again with my troubles. I ask myself the question: Which friendship am I choosing? One with god? Or one with the world? To have both is not possible.