Part 2: Why Are [Some] Christians So Mean?

Part 2: Why Are [Some] Christians So Mean? August 12, 2019

 

Reason #2 – Christians in America don’t know what makes you a Christian

I think the second reason that some Christians are so mean – or act nothing like Jesus – is because we evangelize people the wrong way. By that I mean that we tell people that they are “Christians” if they have prayed the “Sinner’s Prayer”.

 

NOTE: This “Sinner’s Prayer” appears nowhere in the Bible, by the way. It’s just something we made up to make it easier to evangelize.

This brand of conversion is part of what’s wrong with the Church today. See, rather than to invite people to follow Jesus (become his disciples) and obey his teachings in their actual lives, we urge them to repeat after us: “Jesus I believe that you died on the cross for my sins and that you rose from the dead and that you are coming back to take me to live with you in Heaven one day. Thank you Jesus for your gift of eternal life which I receive today. Amen.”

Once we get people to repeat this prayer (or something like it) we tell them that they are now “Christians”. Of course, getting them to pray that prayer isn’t so difficult if you start off by asking them something like, “Do you know that if you died tonight you would be in Heaven tomorrow?” or maybe even “With every head bowed and every eye closed, please just quickly raise your hand if you don’t want to burn in hell forever. I see that hand, thank you.”

And then we ask them to repeat that magic prayer and – voila – they will go to heaven when they die.

Of course, Jesus had a slightly different method. First of all he called for people to follow after him. Not too complicated. Might actually fit that on a bumper sticker. But then he added that if anyone wanted to follow him (become his disciple) they would have to give up just one thing – He called it “everything.”


“Those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.” (Luke 14:33)

And

 

“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23)

 

This is pretty different, I’ll admit. Notice that Jesus doesn’t ask anyone about a preference for burning in hell forever or not. Notice that he doesn’t ask them to repeat any magic prayers.

Nope. He just asks us to trust him with our entire lives and make an intentional connection to him our daily practice of faith.

So, if you’re going to call yourself a “follower of Jesus” you might just have to, you know, follow him and stuff.

It’s sort of the reason he said, “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord’ and do not do the things I say?”

Yeah. Those two things sort of belong together, don’t they?

The Pray-a-prayer-so-I-can-go-to-Heaven-when-I-die sort of theology allows people to think that just because they participated in a ritual when they were nine years old, they can go ahead and live any way they want, and still believe they are “Christian” – which means “Christ-like”, by the way – even if they are not Christ-like and are not even attempting to be so.

Trust me, if you prayed one of those magic prayers a few years ago but today you are far away from Christ and you are not remaining in fellowship and relationship with Jesus, you’re probably not the sort of “Christian” that Jesus expected to inspire.

See, the problem is that we’ve turned salvation into a “thing”. We’ve over-stressed the fact that salvation is a “gift” and then carried that metaphor out to an illogical conclusion.

Yes, salvation is a gift from God, in the sense that it is free and you don’t need to deserve it. But it’s not a gift in the sense that you can take it (like a pair of socks) and wear it apart from the one who gave it to you.

That’s not how it works. Not at all.

But, as long as we remain in Christ, Christ remains in us. And we need this intentional abiding [daily living] in Christ, if we hope to receive all that Christ is or has to offer us.

Or, as the Apostle John states it:

“And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.” (1 John 5:11-12)

So, I hate to say this, but if you prayed a prayer just so that you could go to Heaven when you die, you might not be a Christian in the true sense of the word.

So, this would be why your life doesn’t reflect the heart and character of Jesus. That transformation from within that leads us to start producing the fruit of the Spirit – Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Gentleness and Self-Control – is only possible if we are constantly connected to Christ with every breath we take.

This is a daily practice. It’s a way of life; a way of being who we are in the world on a daily basis.

If we start to do that, we might just avoid being mean to others and that means loving others, forgiving those who offend us, and serving the people who cross our path, regardless of who they are and what they believe.

Try it! It’s better than life!

[END PART TWO]

**

Keith Giles was formerly a licensed and ordained minister who walked away from organized church 11 years ago, to start a home fellowship that gave away 100% of the offering to the poor in the community. Today, He and his wife live in Meridian, Idaho, awaiting their next adventure.

Keith’s newest book, “Jesus Unveiled: Forsaking Church As We Know It For Ekklesia As God Intended” released on June 9, 2019 on Amazon, and features a Foreword by author Richard Jacobson.
Keith’s Podcast: Heretic Happy Hour Podcast is on iTunes and Podbean. 

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Herm

    John 14:18-20 NIV

    I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. [19] Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. [20] On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.

    Disciples (sibling students living with and in the Spirit of truth) of Christ can be no more mean than Jesus, the Messiah, can be mean. Jesus lives in spirit, God is spirit (John 4:24), in each disciple and each disciple lives in Jesus.

    Jesus teaches God as a family, extending the invitation to all children of Man (graced the spirit image of God) to become a spirit child born of God. There is no pledge of allegiance or magic ritual that can guarantee an eternal relationship of support within any family; carnal and/or spirit. Only a bilateral relationship, bound in all love for one another (Luke 10:27), can sustain support for each other without end, each doing for each other as each would have each other do for them.

    Caiaphas epitomized orthodox religion by crucifying God in God’s name. Christ epitomized the relationship of love, with and in God, by his love of all others, including for Caiaphas (Matthew 26:53), by carrying his cross daily.

    Matthew 23:11-12 NIV

    The greatest among you will be your servant. [12] For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

  • Al Cruise

    Excellent post. Even though the sinner’s prayer may have originated with a humble beginning , it quickly got turned into a commodity. Pastors kept a score card on how many they got to say it, often bragging about the number to one another. Many had a simple way of doing it, with your head down you said it in your mind but raised your hand to acknowledge you said it so he count you as one he converted. I know people who have done this and been counted many times in many different Churches. Just to be sure I guess. A pastor with a high number would use that as capital to get things he wanted.
    Large stadium revivals used it to draw crowds , raise large sums of money and sell products. It was and still is the bread and butter for tele-evangelists.

  • Nimblewill

    Good thoughts! I would ask what exactly you think “salvation” is?

    I have not heard or read this but in Roman 8:1 it says that in Christ there is no condemnation. in 8:38 and 39 it says there is no separation. In verse 19 Paul says ” For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed.” Creation is looking for a revelation. I think Paul is saying in Colossians 1:27 that Christ in us is that revelation. So my theory, my question, is that Christ in us will be revealed when there is no condemnation or no separation in us, the Church, and toward the world.Just some thoughts. I’ve been wrong before.

    BTW I think Christ is in us all!

  • silicon28

    Well said. I remember vividly from back in my youth ministry days how frustrating and maddening it was to come home from each and every retreat, camp out, mission trip, or whatever and have the same people not even waiting on the buses to unload before they would grab me and ask “How many commitments did you get this time? How many got saved?” Like there was a scorecard or something. Their anger would always be palpable when I responded with my same answer each time, “That’s not my business nor my responsibility. That’s God’s job, not mine or yours.”