8 Secrets You Need to Know About Christians.
By Brian Jakowski
According to the media, I’m your worst nightmare, a white, bible believing, evangelical Christian guy. Here’s the thing, I don’t feel like evil incarnate. I’m just a guy doing his best to live like Jesus.
Yes, I mess things up, I react without thinking at times. I hurt people with my words, even those closest to me like my wife and kids. Don’t you?
I admit Christians need to act more like Jesus. I’ll also have to say the more outspoken critics of Christians are typically guilty of what they rant against. An act which only deepens the divide between the two groups.
The concept of white privilege is a huge issue that we can’t ignore, but it’s too big for this article. The Other America is a powerfully compelling discussion of the topic that speaks my heart on the issue; I highly recommend reading and acting on it. Click to watch Dr Martin Luther Kings speech.
My goal here isn’t to justify Christians and sweep objections against them under the rug; My hope is to begin healing the rift between Christians and their critics. With that in mind, let’s continue on in a spirit of reconciliation!
The Squeakiest Wheel is Only One of Many Wheels
Christianity like any group has outspoken members who catch the media’s attention, grab headlines, and think they speak for all.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
High profile Christians don’t speak for most Christians any more than Lady Gaga accurately represents all women in music, or the most flamboyant members of the LGBT community represent their community. These types from any group become media darlings because they sell magazines, grab ratings, and drive traffic to websites.
Critics who lump all Christians into the same mold as the celebrity Christians they love to tear down are guilty of the same Intolerance, Judgment, and narrow-mindedness they’re condemning.
Philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche wrote,
‘He who fights too long against dragons becomes a dragon himself; and if you gaze too long into the abyss, the abyss will gaze into you.”
Isn’t it possible that both Christians and their critics are at fault on some points and need to change? How about you, whatever side of the debate you fall on, are you without guilt? Aren’t there things you need to change anything in your life?
You’re mad at a stereotype, not me. We can’t judge each other, not because we’ve never met, but because there’s only one Judge and he went to the cross for all of us.
When we judge two things happen,
- We turn the spotlight on ourselves and are judged as we judge others.
- We become guilty of intolerance.
Forgiven, Not Superior.
I confess, some Christians can remind you of the old Saturday Night Live Character Enid Strict, AKA “Church Lady”.
Believe it or not, unlike “Church Lady”. many Christians don’t feel they’re superior they feel humbled by God’s grace, mercy, and forgiveness. You probably haven’t noticed them because they don’t go around with burrs up their butts doing Church Ladies superiority dance.
They’re often busy visiting the sick and imprisoned, volunteering in soup kitchens, checking on a sick neighbor, helping people in disaster areas. In short, they’re trying to live like Jesus, serving and loving people right where they are. Iconic examples of this type of Christian are Martin Luther King Jr. and Mother Teresa.
They die to self and serve others because Jesus Served us and gave himself for us by dying on the cross while we were still sinners. Don’t give up on Christianity or Christians, before knowing a few of these types of Christians.
Christians are Broken
Brokenness is a trait owned by all people, which makes Christians broken, and human just like you! (Gasp) Why? Well, it goes back to that garden, Adam and Eve eating an apple thing, that’s one’s on all of us, Christian or non-Christian.
As a Christian, I have a personal relationship with Jesus and the Holy Spirit to guide and teach me.
Even with all this on my side, I still make mistakes, sin, and hurt people, including those I love the most! All this is why I’m more broken than a Non-Christian.
I’m weak and I own that fact.
After spending 36 years doing it “My Way”, I was in a self-destructive downward spiral that should y have ended my life decades ago, or landed me on the street sleeping in an alley, had I not met Jesus. Knowing where we came from is how I and other Christians know we’re broken and why we believe we need Jesus to help us become more like Him.
Let me share one of my favorite prayers,
“Jesus, I thank you because the day is going so well. I haven’t sinned or hurt anyone, but I’m about to open my eyes and get out of bed. Please help me through the rest of the day.”
Don’t count us or our faith out; Christ-like Christians are out there, we’re just not in the spotlight.
If your first response is, “No thanks, I know all I need to know about Christians and Christianity.” I can’t help but ask, “Who is being judgmental now?”
The Bible’s Mot a Flawed Book of Fables!
I won’t defend the bible for two reasons. First, God has big shoulders and doesn’t need my help. Second, people more skilled than me have already done it. To know why we Christians believe the bible read,
- Lee Strobel, Case for Christ.
- C. S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity or the Great divorce.
- Josh McDowell’s, Evidence that Demands a Verdict.
What I want to do is tell you what the Bible was and is in my life.
Growing up there was a bible in the house. Occasionally, I’d pick it up and start reading in Genesis, a soap opera or the end in Revelation, a confusing bag of drug-induced visions. Reading the Bible left me thinking, “Thanks but no thanks, too weird for me.” And that was that.
30 some, years later, after making an impressive wreck of my life, I gave my life to Jesus. At the risk of being a cliché, it changed me from day one. On the same day, I bought my first Bible and started going to a new Believers Bible class and Something Miraculous happened.
The Bible came alive and began talking to me. What used to be a soap opera or a bag of drug-induced visions now made sense and touched my heart and gave direction to my life.
Today, I study my Bible almost daily; it reads me and teaches me how to treat people better, especially my wife and kids. At times, my bible cuts or convicts me by pointing out some wrong I’ve done or behavior I need to change. In these times, I’m compelled to make amends and apologize to people. In Short, reading the Bible draws me closer to God, helping me become a better person.
Christians are Pushy with Their Faith.
Guilty as Charged, but I don’t really think pushy is the right word. When you’ve been delivered from all garbage I have compelled is a better description.
Becoming a Christian is the ultimate Mulligan or Do-Over.
Without exception, your slate is clean; all mistakes and things you’ve done to hurt others forgiven. Now tell me, why shouldn’t I want to share this amazing free gift with you?
Commanded to share our Faith.
Hoping you’ll come to know Jesus isn’t the only reason Christians share their faith. The Great Commission, Matthew 28:18–20, commands us to share our faith,
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you…”
Still, without the Great Commission, I would still feel driven to share my faith for three reasons.
First, I know how it changed and is changing my life for the better.
Second, because I believe in hell and like God, (Ezekiel 18:32) I don’t want to see anyone going there.
Finally, “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” C. S. Lewis
The Problem With Truth & Submission
Arguments against truth are rarely more than excuses for sidestepping accountability or submission to any truths, but their own. As for submission, many think it’s a suffocating, even abusive set of boundaries.
Submission as proclaimed by Jesus isn’t limiting, it’s liberating and brings peace of mind. Parents, for example, don’t set rules and guidelines to control their children, they do it to protect them, God is no different.When God says don’t covet your neighbor’s wife, It’s not because He’s a fun sucker, it’s because doing so invites trouble. How is advising you against a life-changing disaster limiting or hurting you?
Face it, the reason you don’t like truth or submission is that accepting anyone’s truth but your own may mean not getting your own way.
Where Do We Go from Here?
We didn’t get here overnight and we won’t heal the rift quickly. Christians and their critics need to sit down to coffee and begin a candid, honest dialogue grounded in grace.
Christians need to hear their critics and consider where they’ve strayed from living as Jesus did, then take action to fix it, only then will people be drawn to Jesus.
Likewise, critics of Christians need to take an objective look at their arguments and methods to see if they haven’t become the very thing they despise.
Remember the squeakiest wheel is only one wheel and doesn’t represent an entire people group. Healing can only begin with one on one interaction. Look around you and take the time to really know someone different from you.
So who am I really? I’m just a nobody, trying to tell everybody, about somebody, who saved my soul.