Unfortunately, rarely does a day go by where you don’t read or see a story where a “Christian” is saying or doing something that impugns the character of Christ. I hope they meant well by their actions, but the reality is they make Jesus less attractive to the public. A lot of this can be traced to some really bad theology taught in the last couple hundred years. Ultimately the blame rests on we who swallowed the teaching without ever bothering to test the validity of it. We are all imperfect beings and we all have our own issues. But we must never forget that the reason for our existence is to reflect the love and beauty of Jesus Christ.
It is commonly said that the Church is known more for what it is against rather than what it is for. We demonize almost every aspect of modern culture and society without providing practical alternatives. Rarely are churches found out in the community simply loving people and caring for their needs. I love the exceptions to this rule, but by and large the church is either absent from the everyday lives of the downtrodden, or they are only there on a couple of special “service” weekends each year. Our job as Kingdom people is to reflect the love of Jesus every day to every person with whom we come into contact. We’re to be immersed in our culture in such a way that we are aware of the struggles of people so that we can shine the love of Jesus into their situation.
The light of Christ should shine so brightly through us that the evening news would not be able to ignore the stories of service and redemption. As it is, followers of Jesus only make the news for the wrong reasons. Steve Taylor wrote a lyric over thirty years ago that said, “A Christian can’t get equal time unless he’s a looney committing a crime”. Think of all the news stories you’ve seen over the years that concerned Christianity. It’s always about adultery, embezzlement, blowing up clinics, or some other scandal. I can’t remember seeing a story that portrayed our sacrificial service to others. It’s because we have made Jesus about a list of “do’s and don’ts” instead of accurately reflecting His love, grace, and forgiveness.
We have allowed too many external issues to cloud the simple message of the Gospel. Jesus catered to the societal outcasts and degenerates. We have made Christianity about excluding the very ones Jesus came to save; people like you and like me. No sin or lifestyle is beyond God’s grace. No behavior lies outside of His love. When we accurately reflect Jesus to our world, it will be known that the Church is for the healing and restoration of all individuals. Reflecting Jesus will show that we are against hatred, violence, and anything that demeans the potential of a person created in the very image of God. What we are against is a very short list and is revealed through the love for which we stand. Let’s reflect that love into our world today.