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Christian Living

Updated on May 1, 2010

Christians - By CoauthorU Associate, Merwin Severtson

Gandhi - the spiritual and peaceful resistance leader for India at the end of British colonization - was famous for many things, but today I am referencing his paraphrased statement about becoming a Christian.

It is reported that he said that he had read the Bible and would have liked to become a Christian as a result from what he found there, but having also been exposed to Christian behavior, he decided against it.

And, really, who could blame him? I mean, seriously, just observing our collective behavior is enough to turn anyone off.

In HONESTLY looking at my own behavior, I am surprised that I have any friends at all!

I am proud, arrogant, self-righteous, and "everyone is entitled to my opinion". (Or, so reads the caption on the coffee mug one of my daughters bought me for my birthday a few years back).

And, when Christians congregate, we tend to bolster one another, causing our exorbitant self-righteousness to balloon into something extremely grotesque.

Anyone exposed to this behavior - who is not a believer, who is not desperate for God's ability to save them from a life devoted to self destruction - would rightly run in the direction of escape.

And following that line of reasoning, should we be greatly surprised by their anger? The anger that could, and often does, translate into a stumbling block and justification that vows to never approach a belief in God.

That is not to say that the persecution leveled at some Christians is our fault, but neither does it exempt us from the collective responsibility for the revulsion that it produces.

Sure, we love our brethren. We should. The Bible encourages us to "prefer the brethren".

But if you were to survey "the brethren" I think you would be greatly surprised to find out that a lot of "us" prefer non-believers to believers.

Could it be that non-believers are easier to be around, more restful?

Think about it... if this were true, why would this be? I believe the answer is simple, Jesus came to heal those that are sick. These would be those who are really messed up for a lot of reasons.

This basically translates into some really messed up lifestyles, thinking patterns, attitudes, etc. all manner of various dysfunctional syndromes, being miraculously changed both immediately and through long term processes.

Meanwhile, they have been thrust into the conformist meatgrinder of church that expects them to understand that, now their behaviors are forgiven (which they are), and they themselves, are now fixed and appropriate (which usually, they are not).

And within the confines of this assembly line, cookie cutter approach, we have the blind leading the blind, in the sense that the newbies are able to look at the old-timers for the examples of how to act, and they learned from other old timers... so on and so forth.

Through all of this, the best examples of Christian maturity are the ones that get ignored as examples simply because it is funner to follow the worst examples and after all, "...aren't they saved too?" And so the old timers that are usually "pinched" for the purpose of mentoring, are far from humble, ultra-conformists who place more importance on adherence to their particular denominational expectations (traditions)... than the grace, mercy and liberty of the Gospel.

This spiritual inheritance that is passed along to the newbies creates a new generation of "mentors" that unwaveringly expect those that they mentor to conform to the same self righteous traditions.

Please do not misunderstand what I am saying!

None of this has got a thing to do with whether or not the errant old-timers are saved or whether the newbie is saved, if they believe in Christ then they are saved.

But it can have a lot to do with whether or not the angry atheist will be saved, unless the Lord can miraculously get the person past how he or she sees us behaving.

Gandhi... could not get past the (at best) problematic behavior of those who followed Christ.

The number one complaint from the atheistic ranks is that we (Christians) are extremely hypocritical.

Please be honest, do not try to defend this, or any other fruit of the flesh to them.

Yes we are hypocritical, we all are... all, humans are. And honesty, is the best approach when we are confronted with our own shortcomings, it happens to be the number one area where the ability to be humble, and the fruit of the Spirit, self control, surfaces. After all, "we overcome by the blood of the Lamb, and the word of our testimony".

We have in our favor as our advocate, and counsel, Jesus. Tap into His honesty, His humble nature and His wisdom and represent His truth.

"You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free." If we are honest and open with our short comings we become the humble example. The one that is more capable to set the fence walking, potential believer free and set the better example for the newbie. Newbies need mature mentors and they seldom get them.


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      Roger Crigger 6 years ago

      Point taken. I used the word "Hard stance" to simply describe the person... "I won't budge...and I'll find a reason to debunk every reason you or anyone else can come up with! I will create, at will, insurmountable obstacles, no matter the topic or angle!" Much less come close to tackling even a fraction of the varying definitions of "empirical evidence". There is no way I could address every subtle nuance you mentioned above, much less the volumes among volumes to be addressed on the topic. I was just making "a few" points. The fact remains, "if He, (Jesus) doesn't literally become what people see when they look at me, it ain't happnin'! Much, much, truth to the core in this Hub Thanks though.

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      Chasuk 6 years ago

      @Roger: Many atheists look at Christ and find His example laudable. Some sophomore atheists judge Christianity by the misbehavior of a minority of His followers. They don't become "hard stance" because of this misbehavior; hypocrisy convicts the atheist as often as it convicts the theist, and every honest atheist knows this. Why do they become "hard stance?" First, because they distrust any purely subjective human experience as being unreliable. Second, because they see no empirical evidence. For the honest atheist, those are insurmountable obstacles.

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      Roger Crigger 6 years ago

      Absolutely Right on the money. It would be great if fence walkers or hard stance atheists would look at Christ and HIS example, but the fact is.... they don't! They look at US! Why? Many reasons, 1.) They can SEE us. 2.) They're trying to fit in, trying to figure out, or learn how a Christian / believer acts... lives... etc.. I mean, certainly there HAS to be more to getting saved than simply believing in Christ and sincerely inviting Him into our hearts, simply accepting His FREE gift of salvation right? So, I better look at those more 'experienced' than myself and find out what ELSE I must do.

      That's why it is so vitally important to, as the name implies (even literally means), as a "Christian", be "Christ-Like" and the ONLY way to do that is to let HIM live through you, because, let's be honest here, if He, (Jesus) doesn't literally become what people see when they look at me, it ain't happnin'! Much, much, truth to the core in your Hub here my friend, you ever consider writing?

    • Judah's Daughter profile image

      Judah's Daughter 7 years ago from Roseville, CA

      I appreciate the content of this hub and understand where you're coming from. I think, however, of all the "works based" non-Christian religions out there and how they appear to bear the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, long-suffering, gentleness, kindness, self-control, etc. more than the typical Christian. For this reason, many join and follow it any surprise we find out the secrets withheld eventually?

      I always say the difference between a Christian and a non-Christian is that while we are all sinners, one is forgiven by the blood of the Lamb; the other is not. May we not take His grace for granted, submit to the infilling of His Spirit and love God whereby we love others with all our hearts. Love includes being bold with the truth as well.

      Karma and other works-based philosophies cause the follower to believe his/her behavior will reward or condemn them. All have sinned; no one can boast. Jesus is the only Way and without Him we all stand condemned, good behavior or not.

      Actions do speak louder than words, and the more powerful witness is not spoken, but lived. Amen.

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      Matthew James Blacksher 7 years ago

      Good cracker Merwin. I'm sort of an old timer/newbie all in one. Know the Bible but have recovered my "first love" with His help. I find myself thrust into the roll of being a mentor to the baby Christians around me. IE my daughter's boyfriend Terry and Crystal my daughter. I take this roll very seriously. I do lose my temper from time to time and find myself saying the words "I'm sorry" maybe too much. But I say it. All in all a humbling experience. God is using me in ways I never thought possible. Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us. Tried to be a "follower" not sure if it worked. Will be reading more of your writings in the future. May God bless you and keep you fine sir.