Do Christians Have a Bad Reputation in This World? How could a people who are supposed to be known for their love develop a bad reputation?
First, remember that this world didn’t love Jesus. Jesus told us that if we were to follow Him, that if the world had loved Him, then we could expect the world to love us; but the world didn’t love Him.
Secondly, the world often expects Christians to be perfect. We should expect ourselves to be perfect, but in reality, we all have a long way to go. (Myself, I have much further to go than many of you.) Remember too, that even if we were perfect, this world didn’t love and accept Christ, and He was perfect. There are some in this world who (like a lot of ‘good’ gurus) might say they admire Jesus and learn from His teachings. That is a far cry from accepting Him into their lives as their personal Savior from their sins (which many don’t care to admit to) to bring them into a relationship with our Heavenly Father Who Created us.
Thirdly, some would accuse many Christians of condoning wickedness. They may see this in the fact that we can be so far from perfect. We should strive to live better and hold more dearly to God’s plan for our lives. Also, some may see this in the Christian attitude of loving and accepting others who are wicked. People should understand that loving and accepting fellow sinners is not the same thing as condoning the sins.
Fourthly, not everyone who professes to be Christian are truly Christian. Even in the early church there were those who ‘attended’ Christian gatherings that were not true Christians, and some of those left the true Christian party to establish their own followings teaching their own doctrines as the will of God. I believe those who are ‘in’ the church but not ‘of’ the church, those who profess Christianity but really aren’t, are of two varieties—
One there are those who are misguided by not having a full understanding of what it means to believe in our Savior and have not grasped the full concept of what it means to have that faith. Much of this is the fault of having many who feel ‘called’ to lead in the church, but have not yet matured themselves in the faith and fully studied to show themselves approved. There fervor (zeal, passion) for ‘reaching others for Christ’ goes out ‘winning’ others, but not grounding the ‘others they have ‘won’ (so to speak)’ in the concepts of understanding why they needed that salvation to begin with. If one doesn’t understand his need to be saved, then how will he understand being saved? Almost reiterating, but a little different slant, if one doesn’t really understand why he needs being saved, then how does he believe in being saved? I’ve heard people who seemed to just go along with what someone said, and because they believed the person talking made some sense to them, they just supposed that person speaking must be right, and went along with them because they thought the person must be right. Do you believe that just accepting what someone else says because they seem to know what they are talking about constitutes a person ‘believing’, just because they agree with someone else that seems to know what they’re talking about? Or do you believe a person should know within himself and realize a truth within himself to constitute believing? The one who says they believe something someone else says because they seem to know what they are talking about is what I call ‘spoon-fed’ religion. It’s what I believe Jesus was talking about when He spoke of the Pharisees and Sadducees as accepting doctrines taught by the precepts of man, as He related a teaching He had shared with Isaiah many years earlier. I believe there have been people who just accepted what church leaders have taught as though it were simply textbook material without fully grasping that inner confirmation that registers as ‘believing’.
Then there are those who are ‘in’ the church, but not ‘of’ the church, but, perhaps unwittingly to themselves, Satan had planted them there to perpetuate Luciferian half-truths (lies that have just enough truth mixed with them to make them sound sweet to the ear). They may say something that Jesus said, but perhaps add a little bit to it, or maybe leave off an important point that Jesus was making. Some even label themselves Christian, and then turn around and say that Jesus didn’t tell the whole truth. As Jesus said that He was the only way to come to the Father, someone may say that Jesus didn’t tell the truth there, because there are many ways to come to the Father. Now if they want to call themselves ‘followers of Christ’, but they say that Jesus wasn’t really telling the truth, then how much confidence could you put in those who want to call themselves followers of someone who didn’t tell the truth. If I thought Jesus didn’t tell the truth, then I wouldn’t want to call myself the follower of a liar. Yet this world is so accustomed to lies, that they think nothing of believing in liars, and even hold dear to themselves ‘sweet words’ spoken by those who say they follow liars. It’s like one could say that Jesus lied when He said that He was the only way to the Father, but believe in Him even if one thinks He’s a liar, and people would love listening to someone who believes in someone he thinks is a liar.
So many people think the Bible doesn’t make a lot of sense. Look at this world we live in. So many people homeless and starving and needing the barest of necessities while industrialists, bankers, and other capitalists getting filthy rich finding ways to take advantage of the lesser privileged. Nations at war, not only with each other, but within themselves because people can’t come together and accept one another simply because they don’t see eye to eye. I think that people who don’t see eye to eye should learn to live together in peace, loving each other, and respecting the fact that not everyone sees things the same way. If people can’t do that, then why can’t they just find a way to go and live separately and just not bother with those they can’t seem to accept? But many can’t just leave and go live in separate corners because they are caught in the middle, and can’t feasibly afford to just go somewhere else. Then the guilt falls on those who can’t accept that fact and learn to accept others who are different. Sure the Bible talks about wars. Some wars were to punish wicked people for being wicked, but then some wars were just because wickedness seems to be a part of man’s nature, which shows why man needs salvation to begin with. Looking at this world we live in, I think the Bible makes much more sense than leaving men to themselves and what mankind is turning this world into. And some people ask why a good God would order the slaughter even of innocent children in wicked nations? Look at what their lives would have been had they continued in this wicked world. Do people not have enough trust in a Creator Who may wish to rescue the innocents to take them home to be with Him, rather than leave them in this world where their wicked parents were being destroyed for their own wickedness? Whatever may seem cruel or harsh in our Creator, let’s not forget that our Creator has been trying to shape and teach a world full of cruel, harsh, wicked, and rebellious people. So looking at the condition this world is in and looking at the history of this world’s condition, the Bible makes much more sense than this world makes. And if Christians can’t accept Muslims or Buddhists or homosexuals, then maybe the Christians should leave- or learn to leave it in the Lord’s hands. If Muslims can’t accept Christians, then they could leave it in Allah’s hands. Etc. etc.
There are some fine loving people in practically every faith, but all in all, what one finds in one’s heart is what one must find for himself. We can’t force feed religion to anyone. We may, by force, make some people conform to this way or that way, but we can’t force religion; that is something each person must find for himself. I don’t have a problem with Muslims, Buddhists, or others being missionaries and sharing their beliefs and faith with others, but at the same time Christians should also be proud to share their faith. One problem is that too many people think that sharing their faith means pushing it onto others. I believe that it is futile for Christians to try to hide their children from other faiths (or lack of faith), because they will be faced with decisions in the future, and by hiding them from the real world could cause major conflicts in their future. Likewise, one may ask if an atheist should hide his children from someone who would share their faith contrary to atheism. If ‘good-kind-sweet’ missionary minded Christian should share his/her faith with the child of the atheist, then that ‘good-kind-sweet’ missionary shouldn’t try to hide his/her children from those who teach contrary. Everyone wants to protect their children from ‘all those other miss-guided teachings’, so either Christians, Atheists, Muslims, and Buddhists and everyone should move to their own individual islands to protect their children, or learn to get along with each other, and know that their children are going to encounter all sorts of teachings, but as best they can, train up their children in the way they should go, and leave the rest in the hands of Allah, or Yahweh, or Fate or whatever the parents believe are in control.
The only real problem with each faith moving to its own island would be someone would discover oil, or gold, or platinum, or uranium, and then the Democrats and Republicans would be aiming missiles at all these islands, and then about all we could do is wait for the end of the world. Isn’t that about what we seem to be doing anyway. I live in the United States and I believe the United States is wicked. Okay, so why don’t I move to another country? Tell me, who knows just which country on earth is not wicked, and which one has the fewest missiles pointed at it, and then I’ll tell you the reason I don’t move there is because I don’t think any such place exists, except in Heaven. (Add to that the fact that I’m ignorant and English is the only language I know and I really can’t afford to move.)
Speaking of not being able to afford to move- let me take this opportunity to remind you about the sweepstakes for the first woman rich enough to take care of me the rest of my life wins me, providing she complies with all the fine print that I haven’t gotten around to wording yet.