People Don’t Dislike Jesus, They Dislike Christians

It’s becoming more and more apparent to me that people don’t really have issues with what Christianity is. I mean, what we believe can be thought of as a little crazy: we believe that a homeless man lived a perfect life, paid the price for everyone’s sin on the cross, and rose 3 days later to overcome death and provide eternal salvation for all those who believe in Him. But honestly I don’t find that many people shun Christianity because of the core beliefs surrounding Jesus, it’s because of the way Christians act in the name of Jesus: arrogant, with cavalier hatred when their beliefs are opposed, and claiming that their religion is under attack when they are challenged.

This is really challenging for me because I get it. I am a Christian. I accept that Jesus’ sacrifice paid my debt and I strive to follow Him as my not just my savior, but as my Lord the best I can; but I can’t help but be really ashamed for how some of us act towards people who disagree with us – myself included.  A couple of weeks I posted a blog advocating for comprehensive sex education beyond abstinence (which by the way, still advocates for abstinence as the best method for preventing STI infection and pregnancy; it also just gives medically accurate information regarding birth control and condoms) and I was called a slew of things! Multiple people accused me of not actually being a Christian, one guy said my post was straight from Satan, and another guy actually sexually harassed me by saying I just wanted to create a forum for “spreading my legs and dropping my panties”… these comments are not exactly representative of a savior who looked at naked woman who literally had just been having illicit sex, didn’t condemn her, and told her, “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

Reading those comments, I was mostly shocked because it never really occurred to me that the post was controversial or would cause such a stir. But after a few minutes of letting their words sit with me, it was easy to let it roll of my shoulders. I know Christ’s love, and I know that even if He said that every single thing I wrote was wrong (which I don’t think He would), He would look on me with love and grace. But what happens when people who don’t know Christ’s love encounter this kind of hatred? Were my feelings hurt reading those comments? A little, sure; but what broke my heart was thinking that these people, these Christians think they are actually doing God’s work in harassing me; and even worse, people who aren’t Christians might think that our loving God endorses and motivates that kind of horrid behavior.

It’s easy to get upset when people call you out, or explicitly say things to hurt you. And I am not trying to take away from that fact. But when Christians just start arguing and fighting to prove their point for their own pride, that doesn’t just reflect badly on Christians, it reflects badly on God. Frankly, when Christians act like dicks to each other and to other people, it reinforces and perpetuates a system where non-Christians want nothing to do with God. It creates a situation where people see hatred and infighting between supposed “brothers and sisters in Christ” and think, “Why would I want anything to do with that?”  I am all about having conversations and thinking critically about all things religious and secular, but there is a difference between “iron sharpening iron” and using pushback from people to mutually grow, and just ramming people if they don’t think the way you do. When there is this infighting and hatred between brothers and sisters in Christ, it just alienates other people from God. Trust me, I get it. When people come at me with fightin’ words, I get angry. I want to yell back. I want scream at them. But at the end of the day, I need to swallow my pride and work to love them no matter what. And when I can’t find the strength to be loving because that is what Jesus does for me, I remember that when I speak as a Christian, I speak as an Ambassador of Christ and the last thing I ever want to do is have my words or actions deter people from knowing the unconditional love of Christ. If we all can’t be loving in the face of our own pride, maybe we need to switch the focus from ourselves to the people that have yet to know God and have that change our hearts. It's a difficult switch, but I can't think of anything else I'd rather work towards.

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