Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Abraham's Argument

A little break from our journey through the Bible today because there's something on my heart that I want to say. Lately, it seems like I'm having the same conversation with the world that Abraham had with God - begging them to look harder, to find just one righteous person among us. 

The world's got a bad impression of Christians. At least, the westernized world does. To them, we're all stuffed-shirt moralists who can't keep our hands out of women's reproductive systems (metaphorically) and who take absolutely all the fun out of living, espousing love while living like some of the most hate-filled individuals on earth. And while I get that some of that is unwarranted - it is not inherently hateful, for example, to simply disagree with someone else's core value or to value something that is at odds with someone else - a lot of it probably is. 

And even if the world is guilty of the same sins they accuse us of - intolerance in the name of tolerance, to name one - that doesn't excuse our behavior. 

We have to do better. 

It's too easy for the world to scoff and say with derision, "Christians!" They're all the same. They're all only interested in making sure everyone lives according to their standard. They're all only interested in judging me. They're all only interested in scoring points for their "God." Love? They don't love me; they use me.

This world isn't even sure any more what love means.

The conversation I keep having over and over and over again stems from this, from yet another episode where someone has had a less-than-loving exchange with a so-called Christian whose primary concern is nothing Christ-like at all, but rather, moral self-righteousness. And I have to beg, plead - don't judge us by our worst specimen.

Don't think that all Christians are like that Christian, even though it's coming quickly for the world that every interaction they've ever had with a Christian seems exactly the same. Don't think that all Christians are out there with the same motive and agenda; we aren't. Don't judge my faith by your experience of those who aren't living my faith, but who have only co-opted my name.

Because I, for one, am not like your "Christians." And in our hearts, so many of us aren't.

So I say to the world this: if you can find just fifty Christians, just fifty, who are living a true holy worldview of love and grace and every good thing that we claim to be, will you stop lumping us all together by our shortcomings?

What if you can find only forty? Thirty? Twenty? Ten? If you can find one - just one - Christian who lives and loves and interacts the way that we claim to live and love and interact, will you stop talking about "Christians" the way you do? Will you stop thinking we're all the same? Just one...if you can find just one...

And the world snorts and says, sure. If I can find just one, believing, of course, that it's not even possible. Believing there is no such thing as even one good Christian in the world.

And listen - that doesn't mean we let the world define who we are or how we live. Or that we give the world the right to judge us by their standards and determine whether our faith is valid or not. No, it means we invite the world to judge us by our own standards, by what we profess and proclaim to be. It means we stand up and live like we actually believe what we say we believe. It means we live above reproach when it comes to what we declare about our Lord and what love really means.

Sure, there are persons in this world who are never going to get it. They're always going to hate us just for being Christian and there's absolutely nothing we can do about that. Except, of course, that we can stop giving them reason to hate us for being terrible, hypocritical Christians. I mean, if they're going to hate us, at least let them hate us for being exactly who we say that we are.

But the majority of this world? They're aching for us to be good Christians. They want us to live according to our word. They want to see us take seriously the faith for ourselves that we try too often to force on them. They want to see us love and serve and extend grace and offer forgiveness. They want to see the best of what we have to offer.

They just aren't.

And until we do, I think they're right to say it. Ugh...Christians.

But what if you could find just one...?

What if you would be just one...?

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