Being a Christian in today’s modern society is not easy. If you are not under attack then you are under scrutiny. People are hungry for something real to believe in and the vast number of religions results in confusion and uncertainty in the person who truly desires a relationship with God.
For this reason people are looking closer to home. They look to the people they know – relatives, colleague’s, friends, are all people they have some type of relationship with and thus are able to see how that person’s belief system impacts their life.
I sincerely believe that to be an effective Christian it is necessary to live the kind of life that will be pleasing to God and yet, at the same time, be both real and relational for today’s world. We cannot profess to be followers of Christ and then not behave appropriately. However, this becomes increasingly easier as we walk with God and keep our focus on Him and not on the chaos of the world. This does not mean that we must start behaving as though we are not part of the world and walk around in ‘sackcloth and ashes’, shunning all normal worldly things like television and other forms of entertainment loudly declaring them to be the “works of the devil”. People who behave like that are only going to alienate themselves from the rest of society and that is not what we are called to do. We are able, as we become increasingly Spirit-filled Christians, to discern what is right and what is wrong and to choose what we participate in or quietly walk away from.
The true Christian is not someone who stands on a higher moral ground with a judgmental attitude on everything around them and a ‘holier than thou’ approach to the people they deal with each day. A true Christian will treat other people lovingly and understand that God loves them, and His heart yearns for them to know Him. We cannot ostracize ourselves from society, even though society ostracizes us.
In addition we cannot become Christians and expect to be immune from the difficulties of life. We will still face problems like everyone else does, sickness, financial difficulties, grief and so on. However, it is how we handle these problems that should be different and this is what the non-believers will be watching. Not only that, but how do we treat others who are experiencing difficulties? Do we shun the man who has had an affair, and consequently lost his wife and children through divorce and is now regretting the foolishness of his actions? Do we ignore the once successful person who has lost their job and is now battling to make ends meet? It is at times like this that we can be the light and salt that Jesus instructed us to be. Where we can reach out to others in their darkest times and lovingly help them to get through their situation and thereby demonstrating the love of Jesus Christ.
I have seen a bumper sticker that reads “Christians aren’t perfect, just Forgiven” and that is so true. So I must admit that I get very annoyed with so-called Christians who behave as though they are perfect and stand in judgment of those around them. They seem to forget that Jesus did not associate with the religious people but rather hung out with the fishermen, prostitutes and tax collectors. In other words, the ordinary working class and those who were also shunned by society.
I challenge all Christians out there to look at their behavior and to consider seriously if it is what Jesus would have done.