“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.
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.