You know, every once in a while someone will feel the need to lay on me all of the reasons why they can’t stand Christians. In no particular order, I’m told we are: “hypocritical, judgmental, pompous, flamboyant, greedy, selfish, inconsistent, self-centered, unambitious, self-absorbed, soft, push-overs, ignorant, unlearned” and “down right crazy!”. This is just the short list by the way. Though it sounds harsh, when I carefully consider these things, I cannot totally refute what’s being said. As a Christian myself, I have been to many churches, encountering various types of believers and have experienced some of the same problems, faults that sometimes shine back at me in my own mirror. Why does a group that claims to stand as examples of Christ, the Son of God and embodiment of love, have so many members that seem to come up short? The answer, secular world, is simple and can be found in the very list of complaints above.
We are humanity. We come from you.
“As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him.” – Matthew 4:18-19
This is possible through grace, unmerited favor. It is the unique gift of the living God through the death and resurrection of His Son. Among the belief systems and philosophies of man, this path can seem suspicious to some because it doesn’t rely on a human’s workings, or perfection, to be freed from the earthly cycle of death, suffering and apathy. Instead we place our faith in the One who has selflessly struggled with darkness and overcome it with His own life. Redeemed by that simple child-like trust, we are welcomed into God’s family and sealed with His spirit, the same legendary Holy Spirit that raises the dead, heals the sick and brings genuine change from inside, as the Lord makes His new home in our person.
The Holy One is passionate for all the world and so His net, grace, is as wide as His love. Just as a fisherman catches all kinds of fish; big, small, young, old, weak, feisty, healthy, diseased, so the Lord’s arms stretch out wide to welcome all who will just accept the message of His Son into their hearts. Only this fisherman won’t throw you away because you don’t quite fit. Rather, He sets His hands and heart to cleaning, trimming and purifying what others deemed “hopeless”. Does this guarantee an immediate about-face in personality and character? Not always, the process is different for everyone. Ah, then it must be a license to sin? Not in the slightest, as Paul urgently declares in Romans 6:1-4.
Christ Himself told the masses of hungry souls following Him this truth: those that continue to sin are a slave to it. (John 8:34) What grace promises is that the Father in heaven will never abandon His newborn child that is desperately trying to walk for the first time in Jesus. It’s a changed life view from deep within the heart that only He can bring, but it’s just the first step. Holding on tightly to His faithful hand, not looking back, a stumble becomes a walk, the walk a run, and the run a Holy dance of praise for eternity.