Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Bad Christian

"So I said to him, 'You know, Dad, you're a really good religious person, but you're a bad Christian.'" 
That comment has stuck in my head since yesterday afternoon.  A new friend was sharing herself with me and that is how she saw her dad, a pastor.  A tragedy for the people he ministered to, a tragedy for his family, a tragedy for his eternal self.  But I was encouraged by my friend's discernment.  Too many of us are "good religious people" but "bad Christians."
Here are a couple of things she brought up that are worth mentioning to those of us who minister in our local church Bodies:
1)  Once a notable member of the congregation brought three guests with her.  They were of a different race.  They were beautiful.  They were well-to-do.  And no one greeted them.  No one talked to them.  For weeks after that incident, everyone gave that church member the cold shoulder.  Hmmm. Would I react this way?
2)  Once a woman with a "spotted" past confessed her sin, God changed her life, but she was held at arm's length.  "She scrubbed the floors for those people, she made them meals, she washed the dishes after potlucks, and they treated her like dirt."  Hmmmm. Would I react this way?
I must say that, during our visit I did some dirt-checking of my own.  How do I think of others?  How do I treat others in our church Body?  If she were to come to our church, what would she see?  What do others see?  Do they see Jesus at work?  Or are we just a bunch of "religious people" playing church?
As we parted I shared an insight of my own.  "I've realized that it's not just about reading your Bible.  Even if people read the Bible everyday, it doesn't mean a thing until they come to the point of saying, 'God, you're right.  I'm wrong.  I need you to make up the difference.'"  And that is where Jesus Christ comes in.  There is no change--in fact, there is only petrification of stubborn pride--until I repent and submit to God.  Then, as I walk in the reality of my own frailty and failure, I am more accepting of others and more ready to point them to an all-sufficient, all-loving God.
I continue to chew on our conversation, with an eye on my attitude:  Am I defensive or repentant?  It's the difference between being a good religious person or a true Christian.


  1. Right on! Good thoughts - that'll give me something to chew on as I do my day :)

  2. Thanks, Kristina--it's always good to stop and listen to someone, especially if what they're saying is uncomfortable. I'm still thinking about it myself.


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