How Christian are Christians…

16 Jan

I was speaking with a young woman outside of a mall and when I asked her “Who is Jesus, to you?” she responded by immediately asserting that “He’s someone who died for us.” This caught me off guard, as my conversational exploits rarely lead me into encounters with other Christians. Before saying my goodbyes I decided to do my due diligence just to see where she was coming from; so I asked what that statement meant to her.

The response was not particularly encouraging.

“He basically gave his life for…millions of people…to be able to grow up, and have fun and love one another.”

This guy wants you to grow up, have fun and love one another!

This guy wants you to grow up, have fun and love one another!

Yikes. Now I’ve had some bad experiences with crazy Christian evangelists who simply refuse to believe that you are a Christian. They grill you and they question your beliefs and it feels like being on trial. I don’t want anyone I’m talking with to have that experience, so I try to be accommodating.

There is however, a season for every action and I feel that we are responsible to gently correct areas of major belief and doctrine. If we want to extrapolate, Jesus did die so that we can grow up and have fun and love one another – but the mechanism is a bit more complex than that. Jesus took our spiritual death and gives us his life through belief in Him.

I relay this encounter not to show off how awesome my doctrine is, or to throw this girl under the bus but to remind you that we are living in a culture that has been playing spiritual telephone for generations. The message has been lost for many who call themselves believers. It is a loving thing to do to gently inquire about how people understand their faith and how they live it out. We are not to hold people to standards which we do not hold ourselves and the goal is not to pump ourselves up. Simply familiarize yourself with the essentials of Christian belief and encourage those in your life to strive for them, even if they already call themselves Christians. A great question to ask yourself and those you encounter while sharing your faith is “apart from saying that I’m a Christian, what does it look like for me to follow Jesus?”

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