Tuesday, May 17, 2016

If You are Not a Christian, Please Accept This Apology

"Wow, I just changed my strongly held opinion on that issue because of a harsh comment by a stranger on the internet."

.....said absolutely no one in the history of the universe.

If you do not consider yourself a Christian, this is for you.  Please let me take this opportunity to apologize to you on behalf of Christians everywhere.  Because sometimes, I am mortified to identify myself as one.

I don't know who these Christians are who love to drop critical comments on internet articles, but they are not me.  And I'm not really sure what exactly they are trying to accomplish when they post such harsh, mean-spirited words.

Do they really think that people are going to care what "God says" about a particular issue, if their readers don't believe in God?  Do they really think that saying anything in a mean, critical way is going to attract anyone to Jesus Christ?

Sometimes I want to just despair.  Or throw up.

Many times, Christians deserve the reputation of being judgmental, self-righteous prigs.  We have brought that upon ourselves.  We are far too concerned about our needs, our rights, and our safety, and we find it much easier to hold up a picket sign, boycott a company, or leave nasty comment on the internet than to actually get out there and love people.

I must admit that I'm totally perplexed.  Christians say we are followers of Jesus, yet Jesus himself specialized in compassion.  Jesus' harshest, most condemning words?  They were reserved for the self-righteous religious leaders who loaded people up with legalistic rules.  But the people that society cast out?  Jesus ran to them.  Those who were considered "untouchable?"  Jesus treated them with dignity and respect.  Women, prostitutes, the handicapped, gluttons, drunkards?  Those were his friends.

If you are disgusted with Christians, I don't blame you.  Jesus said our job is to help hurting people, and sometimes it seems like the best we can do it throw Bible verses at them.  Instead of listening, we criticize.  Instead of compassion, we boycott.  If that's all you see, why on earth would you be attracted to Jesus?

Now, don't get me wrong.  I believe there are many Christians out there who are doing just that--living sacrificial lives, loving unconditionally, and being excellent neighbors and co-workers.  Many are my friends.  But unfortunately, they don't get the attention.  The boycotters and the internet trolls do.

For this, I apologize.  I have no idea why those who bear the name of Jesus could ever think that being mean-spirited and unkind would ever be God's will for their lives.

However, I realize that I can't apologize for everything Christians say or do.  You and I are not going to agree on everything.  Christians believe the Bible should be the standard of morality, and that's going to make some people hate us no matter how we act.  If we're really living what we believe, then our faith can't just be something "private" that we don't talk about.  I hope that there is still room in our society for honest, rational discussion.  But I hope that Christians would pursue the reputation of being kind, gracious, and respectful, even if others disagree with what we have to say.  I hope you might think, Her views seem so wrong, but I just can't get over how kind she is.  

So will you do me a favor and try to ignore the mean ones?  They don't represent all of us.  They definitely don't represent Jesus.  Everyone does need a little Grace in their lives.  I hope that's what you'll find here.  I hope that's what you'll find in the next Christian you meet.

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