Fewer and fewer people identify as Christian today. ‘Spiritualism’, Atheism, Agnosticism, along with other belief systems are on the rise. And there’s increasing hostility towards Christians & Christianity as well.
Some of this increased hostility is, I believe, our own fault. We come across, too often, as sticks in the mud. Angry scolds. Weird people others don’t want to be like.
I’ve read that Mahatma Gandhi was asked
Mr. Gandhi, though you quote the words of Christ often, why is that you appear to so adamantly reject becoming his follower?
Oh, I don’t reject Christ. I love Christ. It’s just that so many of you Christians are so unlike Christ.
A variation on that had Gandhi replying ‘I would suggest first of all that all of you Christians, missionaries and all begin to live more like Jesus Christ.‘
And I can agree with that statement. Unfortunately whether it was actually said or not, it applies to me as well.
A quick search under ‘Who said they didn’t want to be like Christians’ gave me over 7 million results.
One of the top links came from The Christian Post. This very short article from 2009 lists a few complaints former non-believers had about Christians.
So what can we do better? How do we draw people towards Christ?
First, we need to be more like Him. Jesus was someone people enjoyed being around. He celebrated with his friends & neighbors. What was His first miracle? Turning water into wine at a wedding! Let’s stop being sticks in the mud, enforcing rule after rule on everyone else. We want to be able to have fun, to laugh and celebrate with people who have things to celebrate.
When Jesus was asked about stoning a woman caught having sex with someone who wasn’t her husband, the first thing he did was to tell her accusers that whoever hadn’t sinned themselves could cast the first stone. When all those around her had left, he told her that since they didn’t condemn her, He didn’t either. And then he said ‘Go, and sin no more’. Could we have a similar response?
Christians need to stop being so insular. Yes, we need support from other Christians. We need community. But we also need to be there for non-believers. We need to be a beacon to them when they’re facing struggles. And while we need to share Christ with them, maybe beating them over the head with Him isn’t the answer.
We need to be open about our own failures & struggles. When we condemn someone else’s sins but don’t admit to the times we fall short, we’re hypocrites. This is something that’s especially true when it comes to sexual sins, since we at least come across as obsessed with sex.
We need to become more of a Christian community. More loving not just to non Christians, but towards other Christians too. We might have our differences, but most denominations at least have the central beliefs in common. So let’s work as a community of believers to solve some of the biggest problems facing the world. Slavery, whether it involves sex or not. Broken families. Single parents. Unwanted kids- fosters, runaways and young men & women who have aged out of the foster system. Racism & bigotry.