Help me, why is it so?
Talking to my friends in the USA who know these things, and also to people in the UK parliament; they tell me that the rudest letters and the most vitriolic complaints almost always come from those who say they are Christians. Why is that so?
Talking with a Christian Journalist friend; he tells me that the worst letters of complaint, the most condemning and nastiest come to him from Christian readers, why is that so?
I know that when people find their way to Jesus that they are often not nice people, usually they know that and that is why they come to Christ for help, change, or a new right life. I have often had people say to me you need to love me as I am, God does. My often thought with such people is that this is very hard because you are horrible and not nice.
I do know that God loves us as we are as there would be no hope, or grace if He did not. As a Muslim friend once said to me, if God does not show us grace then there is no hope for any of us. However it is very clear that the plan for those who follow Jesus is that we should not remain as we are ( ‘horrible’ if you will) but the plan is to change us, make us more and more like Jesus. So His values become our values.
I constantly find that people who call themselves ‘Christians’ do not seem to haves the values of Jesus and although they claim to be following Him, their actions really give me a problem. Yet I find some (who make no claim to be a follower of Jesus) have values, actions, grace and concerns for others in a Christ like way. They may even call themselves atheists or people without faith.
Even Paul had those who were Asiarchs in Ephesus who did not share the 'Jesus-bit' but were ardent defenders of him even when their own future status and comforts were greatly under threat.
A friend of mine said ‘The tension comes when we view evangelicals as 'brothers and sisters'. I don't think my discernment is simply cultural - I think I discern it in the Spirit. But working together with a number of them is all but impossible, or, there is a small uncomfortable area where we can work together. Then, with those who are not believers, I do not discern that bond but find where they share the values of Jesus we can go a long way forward.
Let me tell you a personal story. I was part of a church group and working with them I bought a house. They provided the deposit, however, from then on I paid all costs, mortgage, repairs and everything. Then they fell out with me and silly me had put the whole property in the name of the group (it seemed spiritual at the time!).
It did not seem so good when they issued an order ejecting me from the property and a life on the streets with wife and three young children did not seem a good idea. Fortunately, God was there and I was able to buy back the property I had paid for at a very inflated cost. My ‘brothers and sisters in Christ' making a goodly profit out of my distress.
So the reason for this story? Well at the same time as all this happened I had entered into a seven year contract to rent a shop (we were about three years in). I read the contract carefully(should have done that when I signed it) and realised that I had signed away a lot and given the landlord great power over me. What to do?
I went to see them (one Muslim and one Hindu owing the shop). I showed them my contract saying that I realise you have lots of power to take me for everything. They both read it carefully and said that they have defiantly got us, however, we are also in business and think we should be kind to you - 'you are released' (and they ripped up the contract). I was happy but disappointed too; I was puzzle as to who was Christ like, who really were my brothers, sisters and who had the Jesus value?
So now can you help me understand? Maybe C.S. Lewis had it right in 'The Last Battle'.
Emeth, one of Rishda's men and a devout follower of Tash, insists on seeing his god. Rishda tries to dissuade him, but Emeth enters the stable, and the dead body of another soldier, who was stationed in the stable to murder the rebellious Narnians, is thrown out instead. Aslan invites him into His world, Emeth says he cannot come as he has never severed Aslan, always Tash, Aslan say all you did was for me even though you thought you were serving Tash.