A Sad Christian
"Why didn't you tell me?"
"Because I didn't think that you'd understand."
This was the beginning of the saddest thing I had ever been told as a Christian. Sadly, this wasn't the last time I was ever going to hear this from a friend or a loved one. With each time someone has withheld sharing something that was troubling them, I felt like I was failing as a Christian. Though this isn't really about me but about the people, have about believers.
I wrote down this full conversation in my journal, and as I was looking back through my entries I began to ask myself, "why is it that people do not feel comfortable enough to talk to me because of my faith and the life that I live?" (Now we all know that I'm further from perfect than Pluto is from the sun but let's not focus on that. )
Is it because others aren't believers, so they want the whole Jesus thing to be thrown at them in their most sensitive time? Or is it because those who have done something they are embarrassed or ashamed about do not believe that due to the lifestyle Christians live, we are unaware and unable to relate to them? I think it's a combination of both and maybe some more and these are the reasons for this statement, then what kind of message are we sending as believers.
I get it, we are supposed to live blameless lives and be the light that Christ has given us but why is that when people mess up or when they feel this way, we sometimes come off as judgmental, better than, and even to the point of shunning those who need us the most? Funny thing…this reminds me of a story Jesus told.
Do you remember the story of that ridiculous son who decided to get his blessings and do whatever he wanted with it but messed up and had to come back home? Yeah, I'm talking about the prodigal son. Oh, how familiar we are with this story right?
'He also said: “A man had two sons. The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the estate I have coming to me.’ So he distributed the assets to them. Not many days later, the younger son gathered together all he had and traveled to a distant country, where he squandered his estate in foolish living. After he had spent everything, a severe famine struck that country, and he had nothing. Then he went to work for one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. He longed to eat his fill from the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one would give him anything. When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired workers have more than enough food, and here I am dying of hunger! I’ll get up, go to my father, and say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight. I’m no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired workers.”’ So he got up and went to his father. But while the son was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion. He ran, threw his arms around his neck, and kissed him. The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight. I’m no longer worthy to be called your son.’ “But the father told his servants, ‘Quick! Bring out the best robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Then bring the fattened calf and slaughter it, and let’s celebrate with a feast, because this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found! ’ So they began to celebrate. ‘Your brother is here,’ he told him, ‘and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’ “Then he became angry and didn’t want to go in. So his father came out and pleaded with him. But he replied to his father, ‘Look, I have been slaving many years for you, and I have never disobeyed your orders, yet you never gave me a goat so that I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your assets with prostitutes, you slaughtered the fattened calf for him.’ “‘Son,’ he said to him, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’” “Now his older son was in the field; as he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. So he summoned one of the servants, questioning what these things meant. '
We'll let's not focus on the son that messed up and look at the son that got salty (urban dictionary this if you don't know) when his brother returned. Y'all, this older brother had not seen his brother in God knows how long?! But instead of recognizing that his bother (who could've been dead mind you) had returned and came to his senses, this older brother got angry and started to pout. I mean come on, really? Is that necessary? He was so upset that he tried to change his father's perspective by pointing out the flaws and mistakes of the younger brother. Do you see a similarity there?
How many of us have done this to someone else? Oh, not you? I beg to differ.
When we refuse to welcome others despite what they have done, who they are, and where they're from, aren't we being just like the older brother? When we hold ourselves to higher regards just because we're believers but shun those who aren't then are we not imitating the older brother? When we refuse to celebrate the success of those who aren't us, then are we not behaving like the older brother?
Why is it that as believers we sit here, acting like we're better than those who aren't as righteous we are? I'm going to be honest with you: I'm so sick and tired of it! I'm disgusted by this! Who are we to point our fingers at others just because they messed up? Who are we to shun those who make mistakes? Who are we to make people feel so uncomfortable that they are afraid to approach us for prayer, tell us about their troubles, or even share their mistakes with us?
Yeah, I get it. Christianity doesn't call for us comfortability but that's not, and it's off topic. I'm talking about the spirit we carry. Some of us are over here acting like we are holy and mightier than others but don't forget, you are a sinner! I don't care if you tithe more than my car note, you're still a sinner who got grace when you didn't deserve it. (Ouch, I know I'm getting real with you but honesty all day.)
It's a sad thing to hear that those who are around us are uncomfortable to share what matters to them because they are afraid of the level of criticism they may receive because of the demeanor we have shown. Jesus wasn't like this (at least not the Jesus I know). He chose to love first. He decided to forgive. He made himself available to those who were rejected. If our lives don't welcome those who are shunned, looked down upon, and are unwanted, then what kind of Christians are we? Are we even believers if we don't live like the one we believe?
I don't know about you, but I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired of this. I don't want to live a life that showcases a Jesus that judges without love and understanding. I want to live a life that embraces every person no matter what their story is. I don't want to be the older brother nor do I want to be the younger brother. I just want to be like the Jesus that decide to not to throw a stone at the woman who was caught in adultery. I want the Jesus that allowed the bleeding woman to touch him. I want the Jesus that ate at the homes of tax collectors. That's my Jesus, and he's who I want the world to see in me. Are you on board or nah?
Let's love more, aim to understand those who aren't us, care beyond church doors, and embrace those who feel rejected. Are you on board or nah?
Until next time…