Christians today are great at pointing out other people’s flaws, but we are terrible at admitting our own. This is a call to change the way Christians do things.
Steve Harvey did a wonderful stand-up special a few years ago for Megafest, a big worship conference, and he called it “Don’t Trip… He Ain’t Through with Me Yet.”
This was a reference to the fact that he is a work in progress and he still has a lot of flaws that he is working on, though, admittedly, with little success.
For instance, he said that when someone says to him, “I’m gonna kill you,” he is not likely to respond with, “I’m gonna pray for you.” He said he feels much better when he comes back crazier, “I’m gonna kill everybody in your family!”
Zachary Levi, best known as “Chuck,” the nerd-turned-super-spy in the TV show of the same name, is a Christian, but most people don’t know that. And off hand, I wouldn’t have thought so either, but for only one reason… he cusses.
Not a lot, but an average amount for a normal person. He cusses. But then, I’d see quotes on his Twitter feed about preaching the Gospel with actions. I did a double-take and did some research.
He’s a true believer, saying once in an interview with Relevant Magazine, “My job on my set, I believe, is to first just love people and gain that trust with people where they know that I really do love them and care about their well-being, so that when they are running into problems, they will hopefully, at some point, come to me and ask me, ‘What is your peace all about? What is your comfort all about? Where do you get your love? Where do you get your talents?’ And I can turn to them and say without blinking, ‘Jesus Christ.’”
Tripp and Tyler are a pair of jokers. They have been doing videos on YouTube for a while now, mostly about just being goofy in different situations, but every now and then focusing on faith topics, both being Christians. However, they are often criticized because their comedy is edgier than most Christians expect.
Their videos often feature bleeped out cuss words or references to struggles with pornography and lust. They downright admit to having these issues and don’t hide them. They own their stories.
However, because of the criticisms, Tripp has decided not to call himself a “Christian” anymore, because “I don’t like being a member of a club whose members feel it’s their responsibility for keeping my morality in check without even knowing me.”
He is a Christian, but he believes someone needs to earn the right to call someone out on their personal failures. And those people would be his family and close friends, not judgmental strangers.
Kevin Max, the oddest and most flamboyant former member of dc Talk, has not enjoyed the same success as Toby McKeehan (TobyMac) or Michael Tait (first of Tait, now of the Newsboys). In fact, had it not been for his one album as front man of Audio Adrenaline, many of you might not have even been sure he was still singing (he is, and his solo stuff is amazing).
He did a movie a few years ago based on one of his songs (or it might have been the other way around, I’m not sure) called “The Imposter.” In this movie, he played a fictionalized version of himself, the front man for a Christian band who found himself giving in to the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle, cheating on his wife, drinking, and getting addicted to OxyCodone.
This movie, at several instances, mocked the traditional Christian film, where the lead character gets a shot of “Spiritual morphine” and everyone sits around holding hands and sings Kumbaya by the end of the script.
His character took a long time to get to a good place, and very few people played any role in it. And even when he finally did get in the right frame of mind, no one believed him, because he had been such a good liar in the past. The movie does not end with everything wrapped up in a neat little Christian package, but instead, it showed how terrible Christians can be.
For instance, a worship leader, who hates Max’s character, is singing the words “Because of Jesus, I will love my brother no matter what he has done” but also threatens to kill Max’s character if he ever sees him again.
Only two “Christian” movies that I've seen have ever broken this mold. This one and “The Second Chance,” which even has *gasp* cuss words in it!
NO CELEBRATION HERE…
In the last few years, my faith has greatly evolved. The more I read, study, and hear, the more I realize that Christians, by in large, are imposters.
I’m going to step on some toes and possibly hurt a few feelings here, and I’m sorry if I offend you, but I do this because it’s something that has to be said.
For the past 3 years or so, a friend and I have been running a program at our church called Celebrate Recovery, which is a faith-based 12-step program for all hurts, habits and hang-ups
The original intent of the program was to help members of our church first and also those who don’t belong to our church who need help. To this date, we have no regulars that belonged to our church before joining CR. They are all attending from outside the church. or joined our church after joining CR.
But I happen to know for a fact that at least half the members of my church struggle with addictions or issues with drugs, alcohol, smoking, pornography, overeating, anger, or depression. Yet, very few are willing to stand up and say this.
Now, I’m not really angry with them, I guess. I mean, every person’s road to recovery is a personal one, and it can’t be taken until they are ready. And it’s also hard to admit to people that you don’t have things together. You feel like you will be judged by your peers. It’s scary. It’s hard. I get it.
But, no one? No one is willing to stand up with my ministry partner and me and say, “I don’t always have my act together”? I don’t understand that.
This leads me to a greater point, though. We are all messed up in some way. I mean, all of our lives are embarrassing. And I’m not just saying before you were saved. I’m saying that, even after coming to Christ, we all still slipped up, some of us much more than others.
So, why do we pretend that we have the right to stand up and point out someone else’s issues?
Big for-instance: Gay marriage. I know the Bible says that homosexual behavior is wicked.
However, most homosexuals believe that they were born that way. They aren’t just lying to you to get you to step off, they believe it. Now, as a Christian, of course, I don’t believe that a person is born gay, because that just doesn’t make any sense with my worldview, but I do believe that someone can be convinced that they are and have always been a certain way.
Imagine how you would feel if you thought you were born gay, you felt that it was the only way you could be, and the majority of America was constantly telling you that not only can you not have the same rights as they do, but also that you are a sinner going to Hell.
Yet, these same American Christians will gossip every Sunday about who is sleeping with whom in the church or which church member was arrested for driving drunk. Hypocrites abound, but as long as we’re pointing the finger at someone else, no one will be looking at our faults and failings, right?
Can someone be gay and be a Christian? Can a Christian still cuss-a-swear now and then? If a Christian throws a punch instead of turning a cheek, should he have his Christianity revoked? What do we do with a Christian who is arrested and sent to prison?
It seems to me that most Christians care little about “being Christ-like,” but instead care only about “keeping up appearances.”
I eat way too much. I’ve been this way for as long as I can remember. Food has often been my god, especially when I’m depressed. So, I’m carrying around an extra two or three… hundred… pounds.
I cuss. Not often and usually only in my head or when I’m alone. But it happens. I’ve said “Dammit” hundreds of time in my life (sorry, Mom). I still say it when I stub my toe. I admit, it’s a bad habit, but I’m not perfect.
And of course, those who've heard my testimony know that there was a period of my life where I really screwed my life up because of a selfish addiction to pornography that I hid from everyone. I’ve been clean for over four years now, but I can’t say I’m not still tempted from time to time to slip back into those old habits.
And I know I’m not the only one. How many of my Christian brothers and sisters are divorcing because they can’t stop picking fights with each other? How many are shaking their heads because they are so deep in debt that they don’t know where to start getting out of it? How many have committed adultery, or at least lusted after another person (which is kinda the same in God’s eyes)? And I know for a fact that I’m not the only overeater in the faith (I’m looking at you, 80% of Christians out there).
We are, none of us, perfect. So, why do we feel that it is acceptable to point out all the flaws of others, especially the unchurched?
NOT THE SAME RULE BOOK…
Telling a non-Christian that they are sinning means nothing to them. They aren’t Christians. They don’t believe in the Bible. The Bible is the Christian authority of right and wrong. So, why would an unbeliever feel the need to base his own morality around it?
And why do we, as Christians, feel it is okay to be so intolerant? I’m not saying we have to accept other worldviews and life choices as “just as good” as Christianity, but we do need to realize that every person has taken their own journey to get to where they are, and most believe just as strongly in their morality as you do in yours. We have to respect that. Healthy debate can occur, but only if we’re civil about it, and preferably if it’s not done on the internet…
You can still witness to someone without insulting them. Telling someone that they are "just all wrong" usually drives them further away from Jesus, folks.
And who says we have to act so perfectly all the time? I know the Bible teaches us to follow Christ, to be like him, to let our actions speak love. But what if our lives aren’t perfect? What if we are having a bad day? Are we supposed to put on our fake “I’m a Christian, so everything is puppies and Jesus for me” masks in public? Are we supposed to put on an act for the benefit or others?
Isn’t that lying?
Am I getting through to you? Or, are you still upset that I actually wrote the word “Dammit” a few paragraphs back without censoring it?
I remember the first and only time I heard my father-in-law cuss. He’s a Christian, and a strong one from my perspective, a wonderful role model for me and any man. But there was one day where things weren’t going his way. He kept getting angrier and things kept going wrong, and when my brother-in-law mouthed off, he threw the word “Damn” out. He was walking towards me as he said it, and I felt as if this giant *woosh* of rage nearly knocked me over.
But I was surprised at how I felt at the time. I wasn’t upset. I wasn’t shocked. I wasn’t disappointed. I was… glad.
I was glad to see that even the strongest Christian can have tough moments. They can slip up. He wasn’t struck by a bolt of lightning. God didn’t punish him for it.
God knows that we are trying. God knows we are focused on him. And God knows that we are going to sin anyway. Why do you think he had to send Jesus in the first place? I mean, if he hadn’t, and we still had to slaughter lambs for all of our sins, there wouldn’t be any livestock left in the world and none of us would ever leave the temple because we sin far too often!
I know this has been one big jumble of random thoughts, sparked by the four “not-so-perfect” Christian icons at the beginning, but as I said, my faith is evolving, and that is often a jumbled, messed-up process.
But I know two things.
One; I’m going to try to curb all of my criticisms of non-believers, and I believe we should all try to do the same thing. No more hating on Homosexuals, no more liberal-bashing, no more complaining about the dwindling morality of this Christian nation (it accomplishes nothing righteous anyway. God said this was how it was going to go down, we should all be expecting it by now). And instead, I’m just going to do what Jesus did, which was to show love and grace to the lost, expecting nothing in return.
And two; I’m going to stop expecting Christians to be perfect. We are all hypocritical scum, and we know it. We want to be like Jesus, but we never reach that goal. Putting on the facade of our perfection is only hurting our witness to the lost. If we really want to spread the Word of God, we should be willing to admit our failures and then explain WHY we desire to be better. Christianity was never supposed to be considered some sort of miracle drug that automatically fixes everything in your life. Christianity is a purpose. It gives us something to strive for. A reason to live life to its fullest and to do it the best we can.
We need to stop being Christian imposters and start being exactly who we are: Broken people… with hope beyond understanding.