Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Why Christians Should Never Hate, and Why We Do Anyway

This is mostly a post based on Paul's famous statement of "I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do." Romans 7:15. I've mentioned this verse before, but I do have a slightly different take on it this time. Basically, I want to use this verse and a brief explanation to try to explain why Christians are often perceived as "hypocrites".

My premise is this: If there is one thing a Christian should never do, it's hate or dislike or talk baldy another person. Yet, most of us fail every day of our lives.

I think the premise is pretty easy to understand, God is love, yet Christians and "the church" fail at showing this. Every day people are turned away from churches or their Christian families, or their Christian acquaintances, friends, or co-workers. Even Christians who are in the same church, life group, or Bible study may dislike or talk badly about each other. In fact, that may be the most prevalent spot for this type of malcontent.

Why do we act this way? Shouldn't we know better by Jesus's example? Jesus found the people who most needed him, the "sick" and said that he was the only doctor. Why hasn't our Healer already healed us completely?

The short answer, He has healed us completely. The long answer, we are on a journey. If we are Christians, we have eternity ahead of us. Part of our life here on earth is discovering, learning and growing. If we stop learning and growing completely, then something is very wrong in our lives. Yet, however hard we try, we are still so broken that even 100 years on Earth will not "fix" us, but only the grace of God. Because of Jesus, we are already healed in the eyes of God. Whatever the sin or the condition of our hearts, Jesus's blood has covered it in the eyes of God.

So what do we need to do about the sin that is still in our lives? Ignore it because it's covered by grace? As Paul would say, "By no means!" Christ made the ultimate sacrifice for us, so take a few minutes to think of some changes you can make in your life. Don't feel guilty for your failings, use them as an opportunity to continue doing what we were made to do: learning and growing through grace and knowledge. If the Spirit is working in your life to show you a sin you struggle with, work with Him, not against Him!

I think of the incredible growth that I've experienced in the past 10 years or so, and I marvel at how far I still have to go.

As one example of how far I've come, I used to deal strongly with feelings of worthlessness and shame. I have gradually realized over time, that many of those feelings were bound up in my own inner dialogue about other people. When I judged them internally, I was also judging myself. If they "should never wear that outfit" then what about my outfit, was it "good enough"? While I'm not perfect, I have come to realize that my inner judgments of others were causing me to see myself in a more negative light. So now I try to catch those judgments before they form and accept people for the beautiful and unique creations God has made.
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