So you’re a Christian. And it’s not always easy. You do your best to live like Jesus. But you often find yourself biting your lip or being criticized for what you believe. It gets old. You’re the minority, or so it feels. Spirituality comes up in different situations and sometimes you’re caught off guard. Afterward, you wish you would have said something, stood up for what you believe in. Or maybe you just don’t know what to say. That’s why I’ve written this list. This is everything you wish you could tell everybody. Well, I’ll admit, maybe it’s not everything, but it’s a start! Here are some responses to 10 issues that Christians care about and want to be heard about.
1. I’m not narrower than you are
I hear this all the time: “Christians are so narrow minded.” I heard it on NPR this morning, in fact. The person being interviewed said, “We just want Christians to make room in their views for other views.” I thought to myself, “That’s dumb.” Because the person being interviewed wasn’t making room in her views for the Christian view. She was being just as narrow. So before you criticize Christians for being narrow, keep in mind that you’re being very narrow. You’re trying to play the victim, when in actuality, you’re the one squeezing us out.
It’s fashionable to uphold the homosexual agenda these days, so much so that anyone who does not hold this view, is persecuted. Again, can’t we make room for other beliefs? The Bible says that practicing homosexual acts is sin, so what are we supposed to do with that? Christians are “people of the Book.” Are we supposed to go against Scripture? Are you really sure that you want to go against the Bible? We had better think twice before going against God’s word. It’s not something to do lightly. Do you really think it’s wise to go against a book that has existed and inspired for thousands and thousands of years, in order to side with a lot of contemporary cultural dogma? Are you sure you know better? Really? And, for the record, those who struggle with homosexuality can be Christians. In fact, only sinners can be Christians. Christianity is not open to anyone who is perfect.
Christians are not against science. God created humans to practice topnotch science. God wants us to understand our world and use our minds to make it better. That’s why he put us here on the earth that he created. Science is not mutually exclusive with faith. By learning about our world, we learn about the Maker of our world.
I’ve heard some people say before, “I don’t need the church, because I’ve got my buddies at the bar; and they accept me and treat me better than people in the church.” It all sounds so noble, until you think about it. I’ll admit, there are some real bums in the church, but that’s not the majority of true Christians. Let’s just think about those “bar friends” for a moment. I’ve been around those types before, and, from my observations, they treat you nice to your face, but will be the first to stab you in the back when you walk away. I’ve seen it over and over again. They have such conditional love. So, before you make fun of people in the church, be sure to think as critically about those outside of the church.
Our culture loves to make fun of Christians. I’ve experienced this over and over, too. While I’m not going to tell you to stop, I simply want to point it out. I just want you to notice how much this happens: keep track of all the times that Christians are poked at during your day (television, online, movies, music, at school, at work, etc.). You’ll be surprised how much this happens. Again, it’s fine that we’re made fun of, but just so long as you’re aware of it.
6. Yes, I actually want to go to church
Yes, I actually want to go to church! Those who are not Christians are surprised by this. “Why would you actually want to go to church…and multiple times per week? Yuck!” Just think about what it must mean if someone actually wants to go to church. It can only mean that they’ve found something satisfying that they can’t get enough of. So before you mock us for wanting to go to church, realize that maybe you’re missing something. Maybe you’ve misunderstood what church is, what a relationship with God is, what we do at church, the kinds of people you’ll find at church, and so forth. Could it be that church is actually amazing?
7. So, my clothes are outdated…
I don’t have the stuff you have, because I might not have the same priorities that you have. I’ll admit, my clothes are outdated, my car is falling apart, my home is small, and I’ve got a flip phone, but there’s a reason for it! During WWII, our country had to put on a “wartime mentality,” conserving food, rationing luxuries, etc. Why? Because our nation was at war and we needed to keep our focus on the war effort. Likewise, Christians are living to serve God and others, so they often don’t take care of their own needs. They “ration” their own possessions, so that they can give more to those who are truly in need. We’d rather serve others than serve ourselves. I know what you’re thinking, you know some Christians who live rather opulently—yes, there are exceptions.
8. I am praying for you
Whether you realize it or not, whether you ask for it or not, I am praying for you. Did you know that? Christians regularly pray for those who are in their lives (at work, school, community, etc.). They long to show you God’s love, do a kindness for you, and care for you. They might not always get the chance to show you their hearts, but, know that you are in them. You might not know this, but, in any given situation, the Christian in the room will be the one who will most likely defend you, take a punch for you, and show you the greatest care. Remember that the next time you catch yourself or someone else mocking us. In fact, behind your back, when we meet at church, we share stories about you, how our hearts break for you, how much we care for you, and how often we’re looking for opportunities to show you God’s love. We’re often very hard on ourselves when we fail to live up to our Savior’s calling. But we pick ourselves up and try again the next day.
9. I don’t think that I am better than you
Some believe that Christians think they are better than everyone else. That is definitely not true. I am not better than you. I am a sinner, I need help; and if left to myself, I’d make a wreck of my life. I’m hopeless, helpless, and full of junk. The only difference is that God has stepped into my life and saved me. To be a Christian is not to be better than others, but to have faith in the grace of God. I want nothing more than for you to know God’s grace. I long for you to know that God loves you, that he took on human flesh in order to know your plight and release you from it. Jesus absorbed the punishment for your sins in his body on the cross, so that we could be free from guilt and condemnation. But there’s more, Jesus rose from the dead and stands as our inviolable source of hope. Life does not end in the grave, but in resurrection. I am not better than you; we both need God’s grace in the same amount. And if God can save me, then he can save you.
10. I could learn a lot from you
So you know, Christians can learn a lot from those who are not Christians. We need you! We’re not trying to put up any walls, but tear them down. I’m sorry if you’ve had a bad experience with Christians, just like I’m sure you’re sorry that we’ve had a bad experience with non-Christians. But I value you and would love to talk about Jesus with you.
You can probably think of exceptions to each of these. You know of so-called Christians who do not live up to these statements. So perhaps these are a challenge to both Christians and non-Christians.