by Brandy Webb
Are we showing the world the benefits of being a Christian or are we giving them reasons to dislike us? I have been wondering for a while why it seems that to the outside, Christians aren’t very loving. Isn’t that one of the major requirements of being a Christian? Are we actually our worst enemies when it comes to spreading God’s Word and light to others? What if we are stumbling blocks by our actions, reactions, and condemnations of others? We are told in Leviticus 19:14 not to “curse a deaf man, nor place a stumbling block before the blind.” I know this probably meant literally, but it definitely can be applied spiritually. We are not to curse those who do not know the truth nor cause them to stumble. I am not saying we need to compromise our beliefs. I also do not intend to compromise my beliefs either. What I am saying is we need to pay attention so that our actions reveal Christ to others and not self-righteousness.
I have noticed that sometimes Christians act like they are better than everyone else. In addition, some think they have all the answers, and that everyone else is blind and ignorant. However, we don’t have all the answers. I don’t believe there is anyone out there that can explain every aspect of the Bible. I do not believe there is any church organization out there that does everything correctly either. I also do not believe that we are perfect.
So, how are we to act as Christians? I don’t have all the answers, but I have been thinking about this a lot. The first thought I came up with is I need to be honest. I must admit that I am not perfect. In fact, I am a sinner, and anyone who says they are not a sinner deceives themselves (1 John 4:8). However, I have a God and a Savior that will and can forgive me of my sins when I confess them and repent of them (1 John 4:9). Isn’t that one really important aspect we should show? We should reveal to others how wonderful forgiveness and grace is by being honest about ourselves. We don’t have to go around telling everyone everything we did wrong or do wrong, but we can share that, even though we aren’t perfect, we have a God that still accepts us, loves us, and forgives us.
Grace and forgiveness led me to another thought of how we should act, which is as comforters. We have been blessed to have our eyes and ears open to such a wonderful truth. God has given us a Comforter through His Holy Spirit, and we should use this precious gift to comfort others. For example, the prodigal son was comforted by his father when he returned home, even though he really screwed up his life and made many mistakes. His father still welcomed him home with open arms. This is how we should act when “prodigals” turn to us for help because we all have been prodigals at one time or another. We are Christ’s representatives, and He died for everyone. Therefore, we should be willing to comfort anyone who needs comforted.
We also do not want to appear like the Pharisees and Sadducees. Remember the parable of the prayer in Luke 18:9-14? The Pharisee is praying a very self-righteous “I am perfect” prayer and looking down his nose to the tax collector. The tax collector, though, prays a very humble contrite prayer asking for mercy. Jesus makes it very clear that the tax collector is the one who went home justified, not the Pharisee. We are not better than others. Just like Israel wasn’t a better nation than all the nations around them. We just have been chosen, for whatever reason, by nothing of our own doing, and we should be living a life that shows the world how grateful and joyful we are for this precious opportunity. If we act like Christ, we may have more opportunities to share with others why we have hope, and we need to make sure we answer “with gentleness and reverence” (1 Pet 3:15).
The truth is, I am realizing actions speak louder than words. I can’t just talk the talk; I must walk the walk, if I want to spread the benefits of Christianity. We need to make sure that we aren’t the cause of why people are turning away. God wishes for none to perish, so we should be living a life where we also wish for none to perish (2 Pet 3:9). We need to share His fruits with others, but in order to do that we need to make sure we are growing them within ourselves.