It’s really sad the reputation that a lot of Christians have in the world, particularly in the States.
Some of it is the natural response of the world to people who love the Lord. Jesus did say that there would be people who hate us because of him.
But I wonder sometimes how often Christians get a bad reputation, not because they are following Jesus, but because they’ve forgotten what’s important.
Many of these Christians go to church every Sunday, perhaps go to a Bible study during the week as well, they read their Bibles and pray daily, and they are very loud in their championing of Christian values. There was a group very similar to that in Jesus’ time: The Pharisees and teachers of the law. Yet Jesus said of them,
Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices–mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law — justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel. (23-24)
Jesus adds another thing they neglected in Luke 11:42, “the love of God.”
Jesus said in another passage that the world would know that we are his disciples by the love that we have for one another. (John 13:35)
I suppose the question I have, not just for you but for me, is this: “Is my life marked by the love and mercy of God? When people look at me, do they see these things flowing from me? Do they know that I truly do care for them? Do they see the compassion I have for them? Or do they merely see a person who constantly condemns them and their lifestyle?
“When people see me at work, do they see a person of integrity, a person who does what is right even when it hurts me? Do they see a person who is faithful at what he does, or someone who slacks off whenever he can?”
If people don’t see these things in our lives, the condemnation and criticism we receive from the world will be well deserved. And sadly, they may never come to Christ because of it. And while God will hold them accountable for the decisions they made, we also will be held accountable for giving them the opportunity to blaspheme God and to hold him in contempt. (2 Samuel 12:14)
How about you? What’s coming out of your life? Love? Mercy? Justice? Faithfulness? These are what is important to God.