It breaks my heart to see how dark and hateful Christians can be towards people. It almost makes me not want to be one. The acts of picketing and protesting that I see from Christians on television and YouTube are the exact opposite of what Jesus taught in the New Testament. It’s no surprise that those who are not a part of the Christian community are skeptical about us. I don’t blame them. If I were not brought up in a Christ-centered home and had no clue of what Christianity was really about, then I would be skeptical too. Absolutely! But the truth is I have been brought up in a Christ-centered home. I have been taught what Christianity is all about—unconditional compassion. So it breaks my heart when I see Christians “acting a fool”.
In Matthew 5:43-48 it says, “You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best- the sun to warm and the rain to nourish- to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that. In a word, what I’m saying is, grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously towards others, the way God lives toward you” (MSG).
Jesus is challenging those who proclaim to be God’s children to start acting like it. He goes to the extreme and hits us where it hurts the most—“…love your enemies.” Okay, well how should people who do not associate themselves with God or Jesus take these words? I’m sure they would feel quite offended by the term “enemy.” And that’s okay, I would be offended too. If I were in their shoes I would ask, “Hey, time out! What did we do to you guys to mark us as enemies?” Well, uh….nothing. The fact that Jesus used the terms “enemy” and “friend” does not necessarily mean that he was alluding to the terms “believer” and “nonbeliever”, he was just simply teaching his followers how to treat people who are either from the friend side of the spectrum or from the enemy side of the spectrum. If anything, these verses should build a new sense of expectancy about Christians. It would give those who aren’t associated with the Christians the knowledge necessary to detect which Christian community is “full of it” and which one that is doing a much better job living out what Christ died for.
To be blatantly honest, if every single church community on the face of this planet were focusing on what truly matters about the gospel of Christ we would be living in a completely different kind of world. It would still be far from perfect but at least we would be getting just a little bit closer to hitting the mark. And that mark is to know Christ and to make Him known in a genuine and loving way all throughout the world.
It breaks my heart to see how dark and hateful Christians can be towards people. The very people who need love the most.