One bad apple spoils the bunch? Christianity at its core is all about loving and serving others. But after years of imperfect people like you and me trying their best to follow Jesus, and others maybe not trying so hard, it’s easy to see the trail of mistakes left in our wake. The world has obviously made assumptions and built stereotypes after we continue to make the same mistakes over and over.
We do, however, represent Jesus as his followers. We are his living ambassadors to the world. So it is vitally important that we learn to represent him the best we can. It’s been said that we as Christians could be the only glimpse of Jesus someone sees.
Here are a few negative stereotypes that we ourselves can begin to change for the sake of representing Jesus well in this life…
1. Treating people with anything less than love and respect.
There is no excuse for hate from those following Jesus. Everything Jesus did and taught was in love. He’s the perfect example of being unselfish. There is never an excuse for hating anyone. Never. Ever. None. No exceptions.
“37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” -Matthew 22:37-38
“Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” -1 John 4:8
You have no excuse for hate when following Jesus, biblically at least.
2. Making excuses for hypocrisy.
The truth is we’re all hypocrites. There isn’t anyone who is perfect anywhere. Hypocrisy crops up when we start pointing people any direction but Jesus’. He is the one who is perfect and the one we are trying to be like. Christians should make no claim to being perfect, because the world can see that we are not. The more we own our broken and mistake laden lives the more people will see that Jesus is for them too. That he can do the same things in their lives that he’s done in ours.
3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” – Matthew 7:3-5
So before you go jump on Facebook or Twitter and talk about how horrible someone or someone’s actions are, realize that you are yielding a 2×4 in your own eye and show some grace. There is no difference between your sin and theirs.
We are not perfect so lets quit pretending to be…
3. Not being able to agree to disagree.
This stereotype is a struggle for our country as a whole, not just one for Christians.
More and more our country is becoming less and less tolerant with people who disagree with us. We are so close to the things we believe that we can’t accept that anyone would have a different opinion than us. Especially when it comes to the things that are really important to us personally.
We are allowed to have differing opinions. Seriously.
We are allowed to have differing opinions about politics, sports, how to raise our kids, theology, homosexuality, and even how best to follow Jesus.
But here’s the catch… you have to love and respect those who see things differently than you. See point 1.
Who’s right and who’s wrong matters very little in this life, how you treat people does.
The truth is that one bad apple really can spoil the bunch. Specially to those who have never experienced Jesus before. You can make a difference when it comes to what people think of Christians. Go serve others and love like Jesus!
What are your thoughts? Are there other stereotypes I have missed? What suggestions do you have to help get rid of these stereotypes and trends?