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How to be a Christian

February 25, 2009

I have no idea how to be a Christian.

Seriously. I get so overwhelmed sometimes with the newest ideas and trends and causes and findings and teachings and books that I get lost in all of it.

There’s one “camp” – if you will – that says we’re Christians so we just love people unconditionally and strive to do nothing that would alienate someone from the Church or Jesus. Because it’s about introducing people to Christ, right? So don’t get in the way or they’ll tie a millstone around your neck or something. Don’t be controversial. Stay out of politics. Just do the good deeds with no strings attached and love people.

And that’s good. I know “love your enemies” and “turn the other cheek” and “slave of all.” I like it when people like me, so I’m all for avoiding things that make people not like me.

At the same time, though, I wonder where you draw the line. Do you draw the line? There has to be a line somewhere that gets crossed into “compromise.” For example, when a high school student you know tells you she’s pregnant you love her – not condemn her. You pray with her, advise her, etc. What if she decides she “has” to have an abortion? At what point do you tell her she’s wrong because you’re supposed to speak Truth and be a faithful witness to the reality of Christ?

So then there’s this other “camp” that says you maintain holiness at all costs. Protest. Pray in public. Lobby. Be a light in the darkness. Demonstrate that discipleship is a tough road to travel, and scripture does not agree with our social norms.

And that’s good. I know the story of Elijah on Mt. Carmel. I know “take up your cross” and that “follow Me” doesn’t just mean say a prayer and go on your merry way.

But I see it go too far, too often. People protest funerals in the name of my God with signs that scream horrible (false) things about the deceased. Not okay.

I’m sure that the answer is balancing the two, but I struggle sometimes with where the line is. And I’m sure part of the answer to that probably has to do with reading the gospels more and hearing from God in each specific situation. The whole thing is difficult sometimes, though, and I just don’t want to do it wrong.

Anybody feel me? Or is it just me? Am I over-analyzing, or is someone else’s head swimming? Help?

5 Comments leave one →
  1. February 25, 2009 1:59 pm

    i hear you – the first thing that came to my mind is – follow the spirit (of the law) in the moment – being a Christian is about whose you are and not about what you do – trust Him to guide you and redirect you when you make a mistake :0)

  2. February 25, 2009 2:58 pm

    i am with you…i know what happens when i look at different denominations, camps, causes, the lives of others. not that it is wrong to see what is going on around me, but, it is wrong to take my focus off of Jesus, for He is the way, the truth and the life. i have the Holy Spirit as my comforter and guide. i have the word of God that the Holy Spirit works through, i have prayer. if i am going to know where i am suppose to be and what i am to do, i must keep my main focus there.

    keep your eyes on Jesus.
    the Spirit will be your comforter and your guide.

    thanks, lex…
    this is a good reminder for me.

  3. February 25, 2009 5:28 pm

    Romans 8…”The Spirit Filled Life”

  4. February 26, 2009 3:08 pm

    Agree that there are a lot of camps out there.

    Here’s what I know: the discernment between good and bad in my life is the result of self-awareness (things I came to realize myself) through the gift of the Holy Spirit.

    Here’s what I do: i come across many people who do things that I consider wrong — abortion is a great example. But I no longer waste a breath voting/campaigning/advocating that the US overturn Roe v Wade. I don’t turn away or criticize people i know who have had abortions. I don’t tell people that I have the answers. Instead, I try to make it easier for them to discover Jesus in their world. For when they come to know Christ, their hearts will begin to change, and ultimately their actions.

    As a side note (getting long winded I am) I was saddened, embarassed and angry when Prop 8 passed — and to think of all the money, time and effort Christians put into that vote — time, money and effort that instead could have been offered to God. Perhaps we have become the very pharisees and saduccees that Jesus contested so many years ago.

  5. greenejc permalink
    March 1, 2009 6:18 pm

    OK. I have to weigh in on this one.

    Let’s follow the model of Jesus, who both loved unconditionally and called sin what it is. As with so many other things in the New Testament, it’s about the condition of the heart. If a person is stuck in sin, we have a responsibility to proclaim truth in that situation. Allowing sin to continue unchecked in the fellowship is not “mercy.” It’s false mercy. Injecting truth into the situation OUT OF LOVE is mercy. If we can’t rebuke out of love, we should keep our mouth shut.

    The biblical model for dealing with brothers who are in sin is to approach the brother and talk about it. If he won’t listen, go back with two or three witnesses and talk about it again. If he still won’t listen, cast him out of the fellowship. That’s what the bible requires. Don’t shoot the messenger.

    As far as the world is concerned, I agree with the other writers who have suggested that brow beating the lost about their sin is probably counter-productive. Everything we do must flow from a position of love, or it is sinful in and of itself. Big, nasty anti-abortion signs never did good as much as a loving friend and a shoulder to cry on.

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