Many people imagine they hate Christianity when they are merely rejecting aspects of religious pride that Jesus himself would reject.
Jesus strongly disapproved of religious pretenders. So if such people turn your stomach, you might be Christlike, but to make this claim stick you must have Jesus’ attitude: he forgave them.
People can deeply hurt us, and if they happen to call themselves Christians it could turn us off Jesus for life. Emotionally, this is perfectly understandable, though of course it fades under the light of logic. If Jesus’ extraordinary claims are true, however, the results of ignoring him are too disastrous and the results of surrendering to him are too wonderful to let emotions rob us.
A major theme in Jesus’ teaching (it is even in the Lord’s prayer) is that we can enjoy the wonders that God’s forgiveness brings, only if we are willing to forgive people who have hurt us. (Matthew 6:12,14-15; 18:21-35; Mark 11:25-26) Jumping over the moon would be easier than forgiving some people. Yet if we come to Christ with sincerity, he will work the miracle of releasing us from the jaws of bitterness and give us power to forgive the unforgivable.
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Religious pretenders (hypocrites) are people who claim to be better than they really are. True Christians claim to be so bad that they deserve to be sentenced to hell forever. Are you saying they are even worse than that?
Christians are people who consider themselves such moral failures that they have come to Jesus for help and forgiveness. Spiritual achievement depends not on how popular or nice we are, but how much we want God to rule our life and change us. Whether it be due to the nature we were born with, or our upbringing, or whatever, becoming likable and doing the right thing is harder for some of us. What matters most, however, is not where we are now, but where we are headed. Although they may have started far behind many non-Christians, people who have opened their lives to Jesus, have begun a spiritual journey that will end in moral perfection in the next life. This, they insist, will not result from their own goodness, but from an utterly undeserved miracle of Goda miracle freely available to anyone who dares ask Jesus for it.
Not realizing that genuine Christians have a low view of their own moral achievement, we attack them. What drives us to despise Christians is not unkindness so much as a desperate attempt to drown the screams of our own conscience. Although we usually push guilt as far to the back of our minds as it will go, it controls us more than we realize. We are seldom aware of why we do it, but we have learned that one way to ease guilt feelings is to muddy the name of anyone who might give the appearance of being morally better than us.
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Would you criticize hospitals for being filled with sick people? When Christ walked this planet, one of the most common criticisms he faced was that bad people were drawn to him like drought-affected animals to water. Not all the sin-sick people attracted to Jesus let him deliver them from their wrongdoing, but they sensed that in him was something their guilty hearts desperately needed. The more Christ-like a church is, the more it will attract such people.
Jesus chose his twelve disciples and loved them fully, knowing that one of those who claimed to be his closest friends would arrange Jesus’ murder. Judas is one of the greatest examples of a cheat who pretends to be good and acts the opposite. Yet his presence in Jesus’ inner circle of followers has not stopped millions of people throughout history from becoming devoted Christians. And the leading disciple – Peter – was also a man who did not live up to his words. He insisted he would remain true to Jesus no matter what, and within hours he swore he did not know Jesus. Years later, the apostle Paul accused Peter to his face of further double standards. (Galatians 2:11-14) But Paul and other Christians were made of stronger stuff than to try using the failings of key Christians as an excuse for lessening their own devotion to Christ. They know that to forgive is to act like Jesus. If you let a religious pretender stand between you and God, noted someone, guess who is closer to God!
Yet another response: The embarrassing thing about accusing false Christians is that it is equally false to condemn those who do not follow the teachings of Christ if you do not follow Christ’s teachings yourself. And one of the things he most often said is that we should take our critical eyes off the wrong actions of others and focus on our own desperate need for Jesus’ forgiveness. (Matthew 7:1-5; Luke 6:37; 18:11-14)
Although it is too easy to guess wrongly about why people do things, my guess is that many people become doctors for the money. If I were sick, however, I would not risk death just to make a point!
A different view: Forget, if you must, thousands of people throughout history so unselfishly sincere that they gave up everything for Christ, even their last drop of blood. Were everyone a pretender, you would still have no excuse for not becoming the Christian you expect others to be.
You know you are not accountable before God for the actions of others. You are accountable, however, for your own actions – and especially for your response to Christ’s offer to die in your place.
There is no such freak as a self-made person. We did not decide to be born and we cannot even design our children’s fingerprints.
The One who made everything owns everything. Every atom in your body and everything you have stuffed in your pockets – everything you have ever used and abused – belongs to God. And to him you must give account. And judgment will be on his terms, not ours.
To be held accountable is to be treated with respect. To treat us as not responsible for our actions would be to treat us as less than human.