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I saw a quote the other day (not sure of the source) that said, “I wish I had met Christ before I had met a Christian.” I immediately thought, “That’s offensive!” I then immediately thought, “That’s sad.” It was one of those things that you read two, maybe three times. There’s a lot of meaning in that one little sentence, and it’s true that many people really feel that way. Obviously Christ would be the best role model and teacher for non-Christians (and Christians… for that matter), but as Christians, we are representing Him. We are responsible for spreading the Gospel and telling non-believers’ about Christ. We can try to blame the people who call themselves Christians, but whose actions don’t reflect Christian beliefs… but we can’t do that. It’s our fault, too. Because we all sin, it’s a guarantee that we have all slipped up a time or two and haven’t shown others the grace that God has shown us. We don’t always realize how we come across to others and we don’t always see that our actions as a whole can be harmful to the Christian movement. What does this statement say to you? How can we change people’s perspectives of Christianity?

2 Responses to “Christ vs. Christians”

  1. Adam Bryant

    While it’s definitely true that as Christians we should live our lives in such a way that truly reflects Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1 – Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ), I think the “I wish I had met Christ before I had met a Christian,” mentality is often disingenuine.

    It’s hard to completely respond to the quote without knowing the context with which it’s said. The statement could accurately reflect a person’s response to a Christian who showed them truth without grace. But it could also reflect a non-Christian who merely wants a Jesus that gives grace without truth.

    I read John 8:42-47 the other day, and Jesus doesn’t mince words:

    42 Jesus told them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, because I have come to you from God. I am not here on my own, but he sent me. 43 Why can’t you understand what I am saying? It’s because you can’t even hear me! 44 For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 So when I tell the truth, you just naturally don’t believe me! 46 Which of you can truthfully accuse me of sin? And since I am telling you the truth, why don’t you believe me? 47 Anyone who belongs to God listens gladly to the words of God. But you don’t listen because you don’t belong to God.”

    That’s not the message many non-Christians want to hear. And the words are harsher than most Christians would use today. Sadly, many people today want to view Jesus as a peace, love, and happiness hippy with a “make love not war” mentality. They don’t want a Christ that calls their indulgence of the flesh exactly what it is – sin. And even when Christians present the truth in love we will often be criticized for it.

    “That’s a personal choice! How dare you call it a sin! JUDGMENTAL!”

    In general, we can’t change the world’s perspective of Christianity. Jesus tells us in John 15:18 that the world will hate us because it first hated Him. Think about it – Jesus is the only person who ever lived a perfect life and yet he was still so hated that he was murdered in the cruelest way possible.

    The only thing we can do is follow the Way of the Master in John 4 and look for those divine appointments where we can talk to a person – one on one – lovingly show them God’s standard of perfection, let them convict themselves by seeing how they’ve broken His perfect law, and then present the Gospel once there’s recognition of sin.

    That’s all we’re commanded to do. God will do the rest. We’re often going to be rejected by the world when we do that, but the Lord will be glorified through our obedience.

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  2. Colleen Hogue

    Awesome awesome awesome way to put it. You are so right about how people might use this statement (“I wish I had met Christ before I had met a Christian.”) when they don’t understand how truth and grace work together in terms of Christianity. Your last two paragraphs sum it up perfectly. Thanks for the input, Adam!

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