This has bothered me for some time now.
I am a Christian, which happened due to no boasting of my own. God put me in pressure-filled circumstances 25 years ago that channeled me toward His doorstep for help. He is where I found true joy and peace, strength and contentment. I’m thankful for that.
With that belief comes the command to love others, all others, unconditionally. Do all “Christians” do that? Absolutely not. Many times I find myself judging and hating instead. Like all people, I am a work in progress and hope that I can become more gracious with each new day.
Here’s the thing. What I often read and hear from non-Christians is their opinion that self-proclaiming “Christians” are intolerant, judgmental, boastful, and hypocritical. Sadly, in so many instances, this is true. I am often grieved and frustrated by the loud, obnoxious, fleshly, un-Christlike words and behavior of so-called Christians in today’s society — from gay-haters to abortion bombers, and those intolerant of any belief-system other than their own. On their behalf, I can only apologize.
But there is a flipside to the dilemma. That is, non-Christians — from Hollywood stars, to gays and lesbians, to average unbelievers — often act exactly the same mean-spirited way toward Christians. I give them respect, grace, and mercy. I applaud their good works and triumphs. Yet they stamp me with the stereotypical “Christian nutcase” label and automatically throw me into the category of intolerant, judgmental, and hypocritical.
Nothing could be further from the truth. I want to listen to people whose beliefs aren’t like mine. I want to build them up, hear their stories, and become their friend. Why? Because I want to share the love and care of Christ. When they feel that genuine, unbiased love, it will be like light and salt to them. Who knows, maybe our relationship will even generate a thirst in them for God.
Part of being an author these days is the need to keep up with social media. As I do that, I often ‘friend’ and ‘like’ the Facebook and Twitter pages of famous actors, actresses, and musicians whose work I really appreciate. I don’t care if they are gay or atheist. I want them to know I appreciate their work and talent. The question is, would they embrace me in the same open-minded way, knowing that I am a Christian?
Often, I think not.
That feels so hypocritical. It frustrates me. It riles my flesh.
Yet, our call is to love anyway. Unconditionally. It doesn’t seem fair, does it? Then again, what was fair about sending Christ to the cross? The reason He surrendered Himself to that torture was so we could have His presence in us — to love anyway, to love when we get nothing in return.