Don’t Follow Christians

It is crazy how many Christians are open bigots, loud and proud. 

When I saw this Facebook post made by a college friend, it made my heart sink and my brain buzz. Not because it’s untrue, but because its truth reflects a seemingly insurmountable obstacle in seekers finding their way to Christ. Sometimes (many times) Christians are in the way.

But here’s the thing. Christ didn’t say “follow my followers.” He said, “Follow ME.” Again, he said, “No one comes to the Father except through ME.”

Don’t let her accessories fool you.

I know that’s hard to rationalize, especially when we apply this theory to other major decisions in our life (and choosing Christ as your savior is a major decision). Even when we apply it to trivial decisions, it’s difficult to imagine. After all, would you trust an overweight personal trainer, an outdated hairstylist or a chain-smoking doctor? Probably not. So why should you follow Christ, when so many of his followers are more like thorns than roses? If you think some Christians are hypocrites, liars and high-horse jockeys, you’re only partially right. Because we ALL are. We’re all filthy, rotten sinners, saved by God’s grace alone, and through no good deeds of our own.

There are two things I’d like to tell non-believers, and especially those who may be seeking Christ’s presence in their lives.

1. I’m sorry. I’m sorry for all of my brothers and sisters in Christ who are mean-spirited, unloving, judgmental, bigoted, greedy and just plain nasty human beings. And I’m personally sorry that I’m not often a shining example of Christ’s love to others. I’ll never forget the homeless gentleman standing in the Walmart parking lot on a 101 degree day. I had a cold Powerade in my car, and I didn’t give it to him. I have prayed to God to give me a second chance to redeem myself from that shameful afternoon.

A recently released song by the Christian band Casting Crowns perfectly describes this deplorable behavior within the church:

Jesus Friend of sinners we have strayed so far away
We cut down people in your name but the sword was never ours to swing
Jesus friend of sinners the truth’s become so hard to see
The world is on their way to You but they’re tripping over me
Always looking around but never looking up I’m so double minded
A plank eyed saint with dirty hands and a heart divided

Oh Jesus friend of sinners
Open our eyes to world at the end of our pointing fingers
Let our hearts be led by mercy
Help us reach with open hearts and open doors
Oh Jesus friend of sinners break our hearts for what breaks yours

more lyrics

2. You’re welcome. For all of the heinous atrocities that are committed “in the name of christianity” (won’t even capitalize in that instance), there are countless more generous, wonderful and life-saving acts carried out on a daily basis. No, these good deeds don’t wash away the bad, but they should be recognized. How many hospitals, schools, homeless shelters, food pantries and community outreach programs exist thanks to the inspiration of Christ’s love? And most (if not all) of these facilities are for everyone, believers and non-believers alike.

__________

I’ve made the mistake of following strong, charismatic Christian leaders in the past, and I’ve been let down every time. You know why? They’re human. Humans fail. Don’t get me wrong, Christians need fellowship, and a solid leader (there are many amazing ones out there), but when when our hearts and minds stop at the pulpit, we lose sight of the one we should be following.

If you’re living with pain from deep wounds that prevents you from seeking a loving God, I don’t claim to know what you’re going through. But, I can tell you I’ve been through some ish, and it wasn’t pretty. I know what it’s like to have a grenade blow up in the middle of your safety bubble, and leave you picking up the pieces for years, if not a lifetime. And if you’re a cynic who wants to poke holes in any claim I have about Christ, I don’t have all of the answers. I have some, but in my honest opinion, we haven’t even scratched the surface of understanding God.

“What gnats are compared with humans, so is the whole creation compared with God.” – John Chrysostom

So please, don’t follow Christians. Follow Christ.

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5 thoughts on “Don’t Follow Christians

  1. Great post.

    You are spot-on about looking past personalities and following Christ. Unfortunately, you are also correct that too many who carry the name Christian fail to live up to the title.

    Christians are in a particularly tough spot too. Because we set and try to maintain high standards of behavior, speech, and relationships, we have an obvious benchmark by which we can be judged by others. When we say, “Christians help the needy” and drive away from the homeless guy with the Powerade still in our car (I have done this too), everyone can assess our failure by our standard. When we say, “Christians speak love into the lives of others,” and then gripe at the grocery clerk for poor service, people have the opportunity to write us off as raging hypocrites.

    Like you said, everyone fails, and it’s much easier to fail gracefully when you never set a standard for yourself. I just wish people realized that human shortcomings are not points of hypocrisy, they are merely shortcomings.

  2. The fun part of dealing with the dichotomy you are writing about are two things. 1st: This problem is not limited to Christianity. It is a problem with every religion. 2nd: As Christians we are commanded to be people people. We are supposed to worship in community. That means a group of believers. And that is where who are you following becomes a question. My best advice to myself is to remember the 2 pieces: one biblical passage that refers to wearing your belief on your sleeve instead of in your heart and the other (then comes the advice to not pray in public, but to go into a closet and pray what we know as the Lord’s Prayer.) the other is the concept that we Christians are all sinners, including me.

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