Monday, August 27, 2012

Outside looking in

Over the past few weeks I have watched two Youtube videos as well as listen to an audio book from well educated individuals who are either atheist or agnostic.  As I listen to them, I find myself really listening to their arguments and to a certain extent understanding where they are coming from.  In all cases, they reference how different the Bible is from what is being taught or lived out through the lives of those who call themselves Christians.  In two of the cases, one gentleman's parents were missionaries and one was raised Jewish.  In both of these cases the gentleman really knew their Bible and could argue almost any point you through at them.  Listening to their arguments reminded me of a line from an old DC Talk song. 

“The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians: who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, walk out the door, and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.”- Brennon Manning

I have been thinking about the quote recently.

 I also think back to the time I spent in Ecuador and how, even though many of us couldn't speak Spanish, I saw hundreds of people converted and giving up their old lifestyle to follow Christ.  For some is was because of the things we were doing, for others it was through a skit we did, but very did it have to do with any real conversations we had.  At an invitation many would come wanting to talk to those who did know Spanish so they could find out more.

When I think about that experience compared to my day to day experiences now I can understand what the quote truly means.  I see people on a daily basis who don't want anything to do with "Christians" because of what has been done to them in the name of Christ.   I see people who really know very little about Christ and all that He stood for.  I see people who say they go to church every weekend and claim to be Christians yet their lifestyle doesn't reflect them even knowing Christ, it seems as if its just something they do to check off a list.

After I have all these thoughts running around in my head, I begin to think about my life.  I began to wonder what I look like to others.  Am I a reflection of who Christ is?  Can people see something different in my life or have I just become like so many other "Christians?"  Do I know how to even share the God that I know with people compared to the god that has been presented to so many before.

Taking a look at the life of Jesus I find it interesting that very few times did Jesus actually approach anyone and tell them straight up who He is. More often than not, people came to Him.  They wanted to be around Him.  They wanted to hear His teaching.  They wanted to know what made Him different.  He would meet their need, share Himself with them, not once condemning them.  Yet in our world of sharing who God is, so many start out with condemning people, sharing a "christ" with them, and then badgering them to make a "commitment."

Those are the thoughts that help me see how the guys I have been listening to can claim to "know" what the gospel is yet want absolutely nothing to do with it.  To me, it sounds like they have never been presented with an opportunity to have a real relationship that never fails rather they have been presented with a religion that will always fail them. 

Have I been a part of teaching this false religion?  Has my life reflected that of of Christ's? Am I guilty of causing someone else to stumble or want nothing to do with the one true God?

I believe this is why having a true relationship with God and others is key.  Following God doesn't make us perfect here on earth.  We still have our earthly bodies.  We will still fail.  What will make us different is our willingness to admit it and willingness to reflect Christ even in our mistakes.  Showing people that even though we messed up, God still loves us, and has asked us to make it right. 

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