It is my belief that there are problems within the Christian church at large. Undoubtedly, if you've read any of my blog posts on the subject of Christianity, you already know I can't seem to keep my mouth shut (or my fingers still, as the case may be) when I feel strongly about a misrepresentation of my faith, so here I am again, talking to you about something I think needs to be addressed with Christ's followers.
Being a Christian is so much more than regurgitation of scripture and saying all the right things. It is more than reading meditations, prayers and interpretations written by someone else. It is about deep and abiding personal relationship with your Lord and an eagerness to emulate Christ's character.
This is not to say that we cannot be touched by the words of someone else. When I write my heart's findings regarding a piece of scripture, I want people to be touched by it, so it stands to reason that most people who post things on various websites, write books about their personal interpretations and preach from the pulpit want people to feel touched by their offerings. These things should be used as a catalyst for further study, prayer and meditation, not instead of spending time in the word ourselves. This is how we grow.
We have to take what we learn and turn it into action. People around us can smell a Scriptural Christian from a mile away. What I mean by Scriptural Christian is, a person who has all the makings of a Christian, according to scripture, they adhere strictly to the laws and admonitions of the bible, they even have a heart for God. The problem is they don't have a heart for God's people.
Jesus clearly asked us to feed his sheep (John 2:15-17). It is not enough to love God. Jesus could see in his disciples that people would have the tendency to simply love Him, without any reach into the world, so he made it plain to them (and to us by extension) that in order for our love for Him to manifest itself, we have to feed his sheep.
In my opinion, loving while in disapproval mode is not real love. It is not enough to say 'I love you even though I disapprove of your particular sin'. We are all sinners, living in sin, and simply giving lip service to the love of God, while withholding a portion of ourselves to disapproval in not Agape Love, which is the love that Jesus taught us to show. Agape love is an unselfish love without conditions. The bible tells us that while we were yet sinners, Jesus died for us (Romans 5:7-8); this is how he showed his love for all.
Admittedly, this is hard to do. We all have notions, preconceived or otherwise, of sin and in our minds we rank it. It often feels vindicating to say 'well I may be a glutton, but at least I am not a homosexual' or 'well, I may have lied today but at least I am not a prostitute', etc.. It is easy to point out that God's word is clear on the sins of another, all the while turning a blind eye to things that we ourselves do. You know the things I'm speaking of -- the 'smaller' sins. Well, I hate to break it to you, but there is no such thing as a smaller sin. I think this is why it is so hard to be Christ-like. We are challenged to see everyone, and the sin of everyone, as equal.
God pricked my heart on this matter a long while ago. He placed people in my path whom I was taught in my religion to look at with disdain. I was, in different ways, forced to get to know these people. I was obliged to see that they were good people, with hearts and souls just like mine, however different their lifestyles might be. How freeing it was for me to finally see 'those people' through the eyes of God. I no longer had to grimly tolerate them - I could open up and LOVE them, just like Jesus did. Hallelujah!
I asked God then to use me as he could, and it is my continuing prayer. I want to be His light in the world to show EVERYONE who crosses my path the true love of Christ. I don't set myself apart from other Christians. I am, like so many others, trying to live my life according to the tenets of Jesus. I don't elevate myself in any way. I only humbly ask God, that in my small way, I would be Christ's vessel of love.