Monday, February 9, 2009

One Bad Apple Can Spoil the Whole Bunch

I hear and read a lot of controversy about Christians and Christianity. As a "christian" it hurts me to hear that people have been treated badly by other Christians and that they dislike or turn away from Christianity and more importantly God because of it. The Bible tells us not to be like the hypocrite that stands up and says I've done this and I've done that. He will not be mocked and people that use His name (claiming to be Christian) and do not follow Him will be held accountable. And woe to the ones that have caused souls to be lost by their actions. This is where one bad apple can spoil the whole bunch. Once a soul is turned away, they will judge all Christians on that one experience.

The Bible also tells us to "love thy neighbor as thyself". Neighbor here does not mean JUST your next door neighbor, it means every man, woman and child. To God the earth is the neighborhood. A true christian that reads and understands the Word of God and truly seeks to follow Him will treat others with respect and dignity. That's not to say that Christians don't have a bad day once in a while, we can't be perfect like Jesus was, we can only strive for perfection. We are human and we will fall short. However, a person that truly strives to be like Jesus will not be consistently rude or demeaning.

We have churches full of people that are only there for the status or to make a show. They sit in their pew every service and listen to the preacher and the words may or may not reach their ears but it doesn't reach their heart because their heart isn't in it. They walk out the door and don't give another thought to being "christian" until the next time they walk through the doors. They go on with life as usual, they curse their family, their job, their pets, their neighbors. They have different faces for different people. At work they may cuss like a sailor, tell dirty jokes, demean their husband or wife or disrespect their parents, because those people at work don't know them from church. And then, turn around in the next breath and say they are a christian. Lots of people claim to be christian simply because they believe God exists. There is a vast difference in claiming to be a christian and literally being a christian. A true christian as I stated above, doesn't just claim it, they walk the talk to the very best of their ability. Again we are all human and we don't do everything right.

A true christian believes with all their heart that the Bible is the infallible Word of God and that He meant every word of it. They don't pick and choose part of the Bible to follow and then disregard another part because they disagree with it. I hear a lot of people, especially young people, say things are different now, that was for the old days, but the Word of God never changes. What He laid down as law was intended to be law throughout the ages. All God is trying to teach us through the Bible are good solid morals. Don't steal from your neighbor, don't covet your neighbors wife, don't lie, refrain from sex outside of marriage, treat others as you want to be treated. I realize not all Christians do that and even pastors have fallen from Grace by breaking God's commandments. There again, people are human, the battle between good and evil rages constantly within all of us. The devil is constantly seeking those whom he may destroy. If he can cause a christian to stumble and turn you away from God then his mission is complete.

Don't blame God for the way those who claim to be christian act. He has not instructed them to be that way, He is very clear about the way Christians are supposed to live their lives, they choose whether or not to follow His example.

When I say one bad apple can spoil the whole bunch, I don't mean that one "bad" christian can make all Christians bad, I mean that one "bad" christian will bring judgement on all Christians and ultimately judgement on God from the secular (non-christian) world. Causing the world to perceive the whole bunch as bad.

The Bible talks about a day when God will separate the wheats from the tares, meaning He will separate His people from the ones that "claimed" to be His people. Until that day comes no one will really know for sure who is truly a christian or Child of God and who isn't.

If you are a child of God remember that the world judges you the same way they judged Jesus. You may think to yourself, I don't care what others think of me but remember if you "claim" to be a christian everything you do is either a testimony to Christ or a detriment. You are no longer living your life for yourself but for God and you ARE your brother's keeper. You are not living your life to please people, however, you are living your life to please God and that has a direct effect on the way you treat people and the way people perceive you. Remember that "out of the heart the mouth speaketh". Guard your words and your deeds, make them pleasing to God so that the world sees what an awesome God we serve. Let your light so shine that people are brought to Christ through you not repelled from Him because of you.