A Church full of sinners!

Image: A Church full of sinners!

What happens, when Christians fail to make Jesus look good.

“Do you know one of the top reasons people don’t want to follow Christ?” My mentor put down her coffee mug and extended her pointer finger in my direction. She then answered her own question, “Christians!” she exclaimed. “We are all hungry beggars inviting other hungry beggars to accompany us to the dump,” she concluded. “Don’t forget that.”

Christians fail to make Jesus look good

If people only looked to Christians in order to discover who Jesus is, no one would want to choose Him! When we look at both the world and the church, both inside and out, it can sometimes be difficult to tell the difference. When Christians fail to make Jesus look good, its no wonder many turn away from following Jesus.

Christians are to be the true Church. Christians are described in the most intimate of terms as a Bride of Christ (Revelation 19:7). Christ-followers don’t reluctantly trudge behind Jesus. They are to live, learn, and long to become like Him as we seek His kingdom come.

Despite knowing what the ideal standard is for Christians, we still are guilty of constantly misrepresenting Jesus. Sinful and broken, every careless person can be the culprit to leading others away from Jesus.

Own the wrong and the responsibility

We won’t ever perfectly represent Jesus. We’re as desperate for God’s help in our righteousness, as we are in our salvation. But we can live authentically by the power of the Spirit. We can unashamedly confess our sin in true community. And we can respond with humility when we do wrong or are wronged by others. Time after time Gods word tells us to watch our tongue, to count others above ourselves, and to love sacrificially. God uses His people to redeem the views of those who’ve been hurt, judged, and disregarded by those in the Church. So how do we address those who have suffered in the Church?

Remember the importance of grace

Jesus came to Earth, in order to die to take the punishment we deserve and present us Holy to God. However we are still a broken humanity. It’s through our mistakes, such as unbridled tongues and deep-seated pride that can bring proof that we all need Jesus to take away our sins. Explain that we don’t have to have our act together before receiving salvation. It is by grace we are saved through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9). God’s grace is an extravagant gift that spurs Christians to want to live a life worthy of this gift. After all our works do not earn our faith. They validate it (James 2:17).

Ask

Ask some questions to get to the root of where the hurt is coming from:

  • How often have you gone to church?
  • Do you know what a true Christian believes?
  • Who do you think Jesus is?

Share your answers to these questions and share your own personal testimony. Challenge your friend to investigate Christ, not Christians. Christians are a family, a group of needy people on their way to meet their Saviour. Our sisters and brothers in Christ will hurt many of us; just like we are hurt daily by those we love.

Apologise

Recognise the hurt by declaring how sorry you are for what they have experienced. Clarify that his or her hurt came from someone who was acting in a manner that is not true to Jesus himself. We must constantly keep in mind that Christians are not perfectly righteous (Romans 3:10).  

Depending on the situation and the wrong done to them, perhaps a helpful conversation to have would be to consider how good messages are announced in the world. Even with the best intentions people have caused hurt because of how they deliver their message of issues like racial unity and equality. The same can be said for many who speak in defense and promotion of God and the gospel. The message itself is not damaging, rather it is life giving, but when delivered in the wrong way the good message can turn into a bad one.

Follow Through

1. Continue to point them towards the Bible in search of Christ.

2. Encourage your friend to read in particular the books of James and John.

3. Pray that your friend can overcome the hurt and embrace God’s gift of grace, Jesus Christ.  

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