There’s something heavy on my mind this evening.
I’ve been debating on whether or not I should write about it but I’ve decided to proceed.
What does the word “Christian” even mean anymore?
Is it a charity? Is it a hoax? Is it a thing that most everyone in Northern America identifies with? Is it a cult full of bible thumping, hell raising hypocrites who preach damnation but continue living in their sin? Or is it a word that is derived from those who first followed Jesus and preached His Gospel?
I look on the news, I scroll through my social media, and I watch the lives of “Christians” today and I find myself empty and frustrated. I’m not angry with God. I’m angry with God’s “people.” I’m angry with myself.
A “Christian” is supposed to be someone who reads the Bible, goes to Church, and talks about Jesus. They’re supposed to be like Jesus and to trust in what He did for them on the cross. They’re supposed to know that they’re desperately sinful and in need of a Savior. That knowledge is supposed to drive them on their knees in repentance but also remind them of the beautiful grace and forgiveness that saved their lives. That action would then drive them to tell other people about the life saving knowledge they now have.
It’s supposed to be that.
What we have today are professing “Christians” who use the name of God as a launching pad for success and a safety net for failure. Everyone thanks God for their blessings but curse Him when life goes wrong. We claim that we’re sinful yet parade ourselves around as if we have it all together. It’s no wonder the culture around us wants nothing to do with God.
Most “Christians” show up on Sunday mornings, shake a hand while wearing a fake smile, and toss a few dollars into a plastic plate. What nobody else knows and what nobody else can see is that same hand, that same fake smile, is going through a divorce right now.
Imagine with me for a second. Put yourself in a church seat and look around at all the faces. Do you see that man on the far left? The one who has the really expensive suit and cologne? Alcoholic. He doused himself with fancy attire and strong scents to mask his addiction.
Do you see the woman on the far right wearing the golden earrings with two perfectly silent children? She’s insecure. She believes that no one can ever see a flaw; everything must be perfect. At least that’s what her mother said to her before she abandoned her daughter on the side of the road in favor of a drug addiction.
Take a moment to look right in front of you. There’s a newlywed couple in the front row with their eyes locked on the pastor. They seem as if they’re taking in every word coming out of his mouth. She’s furiously scribbling notes on her handout while he seems to breathing new life. It turns out they lost all of their saved up money, have been at each other’s throats for weeks, and their desperate to know if they’re going to be ok.
The pastor? He suffers from depression, loneliness, and anxiety. Nobody notices though. He can’t afford to let anyone see him. He’s the pastor, after all. His family suffers because of the pain they see their father in. His family suffers because of the backlash that angry church members hand out when they don’t get their way. It’s an incredibly lonely world. Believe me, I’m a pastor’s kid.
Oh, there’s a homeless guy in the back row? I didn’t even see him come in. I suppose I should go talk to him but what if he just wants my money? What if people stare at me in disgust and disbelief? What if my perfect reputation as a pretty church boy is tarnished because I dared approach this poor helpless soul? I mean, they don’t know that he’s a WWII vet with no income, no family, and who suffers heavily from PTSD. All that they see is a smelly, dirty, old man ruining their precious furniture.
What we are experiencing today is a “Christian” culture that has completely forgotten their place. We don’t even know the Jesus we claim to worship. Christians line the streets rioting and protesting, we bicker back and forth over carpet color, bible translation preference, and music type. We line the aisles with our complaints about what the pastor did wrong or how he didn’t show up to do this one thing that one time with that one person. Meanwhile, God takes a back seat.
We have turned our backs on God in favor of a man centered religion.
Nobody likes to hear the truth anymore. Hell? Too harsh. Doesn’t exist. God being an angry God? “That’s not the God I wanna worship.” We’ve become a spineless culture that’s afraid to admit the truth and that’s fearful of living it.
Try me on this one. Approach a “Christian” and tell them your life story. Be open, honest, and transparent with them and I can almost guarantee you will receive a blank stare. Why? It’s because we don’t love people like Jesus. We don’t know how to deal with people’s real life problems because we’ve been caught up in our own fantasy world for too long. We’ve been idolizing our ideals while the world sprints their way into hell.
There’s blood on our hands.
Why do you think that God won’t answer our prayers? Is it because He’s toying with us? Is it because He hates us? Is it because He doesn’t exist? No! He doesn’t answer our prayers because the only thing we pray for is ourself and our needs.
“But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.” Isaiah 59:2
One second we’re lifting up our hands in praise and the next we’re spitting in God’s face because something didn’t go our way. We’ve bought into the lie that this religion is all about us! Jesus died for ME! He forgives ME! He wants ME to be happy. Sounds good, right? Well, what happens when we’re not happy? What happens when difficult things come our way? Well, the only scapegoat we have is to blame the “Big man upstairs.”
He’s on our leash, right? Right?
“There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.” Proverbs 14:12
Oh, how evil we are.
We’ve traded the glory of the immeasurable God and replaced Him with fake idols of self pleasure. We’re afraid of what’s on the other side of our church walls so we stay put. We never get down into the nitty-gritty of what real life is. It makes us uncomfortable.
“Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.” Romans 10:9-10
Being someone who has struggled with depression, anxiety, and suicide makes this so incredibly relevant in my heart. I’m so sick and tired of professing “Christians” laying condemnation on my life. They say that I’m not good enough. They tell me that there is something incredibly wrong with me. They spew hatred behind their backs and never once have they taken a second to know who I am and how I struggle. Meanwhile, their own personal sin clouds their judgment. They seek to please people instead of their Creator. They destroy the hearts of the broken with their fake smiles, shifty eyes, and awkward laughs. The hope of Jesus is supposed to be in you! All I see is self-centered complacency.
You know what I have to say to those people? You’re right. I’m not good enough. I’m not worthy of anything. There is something wrong with me. Wanna know what it is? I’m a wicked and sinful man who deserves nothing but the wrath of God! You want to know why I don’t live like that?
He was merciful enough to reach down into my broken life, saw me for who I was, and said “I’m going to love you anyways.” He gave me something I don’t deserve. He gave me life, he gave me a second chance, and he gave me a relationship with the God of the universe. He restored my heart to what it was originally intended to be.
“If we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself.” II Timothy 2:13
Do I still struggle? You better believe it. The Bible tells me though, that “My grace is sufficient for you. When you are weak, I am strong.” It’s not about me! It’s not about you! It’s not about our preference, it’s not about our wishes, and it’s not about our desires. It’s all about Christ and what He did for us on the cross.
“He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,” Titus 3:5
He sought to redeem a world from their brokenness but now we just spit in His face. How dare we?
No wonder the world wants nothing to do with this “God.” We, as His representatives, are terrible for business. You know what, though? His grace is sufficient for us. We can all find healing and restoration. Open your eyes. Wake up! Time is running out. Live with the Gospel in mind. Preach it to yourself, stop hiding behind the masks of perfection, and let the world know that Christ is in you.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I John 1:9
If we are completely honest with ourselves, we will have no fear in saying that we are all broken people. We will have no fear in coming alongside those who struggle just like we do and pointing them to a better hope. There is a better hope and His name is Jesus.