I hate to say it, but Christianity in America has become a bit of a “mean girls” clique except our movies suck, our tee shirts are cheesy, our music is sub-par, and our Facebook posts are lame. When did it become cool not to be cool? I know I sound like a mean girl myself, but I seriously cannot take it anymore.
Why have we created a Christian sub-culture within our culture that is not even all that attractive to the broken sinner? Is the church not supposed to be for the spiritually lost and physically damaged? The only people who watch Christian movies are Christians. The only people who wear corny Christian t-shirts are Christians. The only people who listen to sub-par Christian music are Christians and the only people who read and share lame Christian Facebook posts are Christians.
Why do we feel such a great need to separate ourselves from our culture, make ourselves look as lame as we can, and act like jerks when non-Christians disagree with our “Christian” politics? You know who most Christians are reaching out to? Other Christians, which is so far from the way Jesus Christ lived His life; it is truly astounding how far away we have gotten away from the true gospel and The Great Commission.
Jesus did not go around sporting cheesy t-shirts, getting on everyone’s case over their politics, and trying to impress other God-followers with His biblical knowledge. Jesus did not feel the need to separate Himself from the world or create a sub-culture within His culture. No, Jesus blended in with the culture that already existed. He dressed how they dressed. He talked how they talked. He ate what they ate. He drank what they drank. Today us Christians even have our very own “Fish Shaped” mints for heaven’s sake!
Think about this; the worst of sinners in Jesus’ day felt comfortable hanging around Jesus. Non-Christians generally don’t feel comfortable around Christians because they feel like every word that comes out of their mouth is being judged. They feel like they are not allowed to just be themselves. We act “too Christian” for their comfort and I get it! No one wants to hang out with someone that makes them feel bad about themselves.
We say it all the time, “Jesus hung with sinners.” But do we actually follow His lead? Perhaps we would truly like to hang with sinners, but we have forgotten how to blend in with the crowd. In Christian sub-culture we are taught to look and be different. We all know the verse off by heart, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect (Romans 12:2).”
However, if we look at the life of Jesus and also the life of Paul who wrote Romans 12:2, we see them blending in with sinners as best as they possibly could without sinning. Even Paul said, “To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some (1 Corinthians 9:22).”
Christians should seriously stop trying to create their own everything and start fitting in with people in the American culture we already live in. There is most certainly a place for Christian establishments, but our goal should always be to equip “the saints” to eventually send them out into the real world and make converts.
We must stop hiding in our homes, our churches, and our schools. Those places are our “safe places” and we need them to to keep us strong, accountable, loved, and fueled, but we need to start meeting our culture where our culture is at. Being a follower of Christ means caring for others who are lost and living without the hope we have. We must be willing to risk our reputations, get our hands a little dirty, and become as culturally relevant as possible without falling into sin. Only then will we be “a city on a hill” and a “light in darkness.”
Let’s stop saying stale phrases like “love the sinner, hate the sin.” Instead, lets love the sinner enough to tolerate the sin. Jesus did not demand that sinners “go in sin no more” until after He set them free! Tolerating people’s junk will make them comfortable around us. If people are comfortable around us they will grow to like us. If people like us, they will grow to trust us and if people trust us they just may allow us to share our hope in Jesus Christ with them.
This is what it truly means to “love the sinner.” It takes time, investment, and a willingness to be condemned by other so called “Christians.” To be quite honest, if no religious folks are mad at us, then we are not following Christ’s example passionately enough.
To follow my blog for more relevant encouragement (which means that you will receive an email every time I write something new), please go to my home page and enter your email at the bottom of the page. WordPress will then send you an email to confirm. That simple!