If someone says to you they are a Christian, what usually comes to your mind? (Hypocrites, religious freaks, Jesus lovers, fakes, phonies, intolerant, haters or bashers) I’ve had some of these thrown my way in my time.
The one thing I want more than anything else is to realize that I am real. I to do not like what many people who call themselves Christians do in the name of Jesus. There are radicals everywhere in every type of religion and they all bring the name down of those that really, truly want to follow what they believe is true.
First and foremost I am not perfect, I will freely admit that to you. I absolutely do not have my life all together or have everything figured out. I am a sinner, I mess up and make mistakes every day of my life. Most of the 10 commandments I have broken. I am broken person, I am messed up and make a mess of my life.
I try hard to do the right thing most of the time. I pray for wisdom every day to make good choices. However I lose my temper, I say things I don’t mean, I hurt others and I make people mad. I don’t set out to do this, really I don’t. I lust, I curse, I struggle with addictions, I am impatient, I want my way to be right, I want to be loved, accepted and get recognition. I drink and have in excess, I dance in fact I love to dance, I listen to all types of music, (Soul and RnB are my favorite). I go to bars, I watch R rated movies, and I tell jokes that are colorful.
Does any of this surprise you? Do you find it hard to believe? Maybe you do, but this is actually how many of my friends who absolutely love Jesus and follow him live daily. If you were to attend my church you would see people with different colored hair, piercings and tattoos. They come in all shapes and sizes, they are all seeking God and to have him at work in their lives. They are passionate about him, yet are real and attempt to live that out authentically in their lives.
I also pray daily, read a bible, go to church, lead a group of people in my home every week. As a family we pray at the dinner table, pray with our kids before they go to bed and I pray with other guys and for people without them even knowing. I read the bible, but haven’t read it all the way through yet.
I don’t care what your sexual preference, skin color, if you’re a man or a woman. I don’t care what cultural heritage or background you have. I love and accept everyone where they are at in their life. I don’t think my way is the right way or that it’s the way you have to do it. I am not going to tell you that you can or can’t do something. I believe you have the right to choose what is best for you. I believe that God designed all of us uniquely and that he gifted us all differently and it is to bring glory and honor to his name. Our gifts and talents are to be used to help other and in doing so, we demonstrate God’s love to them.
I believe what the bible says is true, I also believe that it’s God’s words not mine and I am just trying to figure out how his words fit into my life. I believe there are some hard lines that have to be drawn and that I have to take a stand for them because it is what I follow and believe and even though you may disagree with me, we can still talk through it and I can still be your friend. I believe the Bible is full of so many great principles, it’s how we take those and apply them to our lives and the culture we live in.
I believe in community and that by going to church I get to interact with other broken people. The church I attend is not perfect nor are the people who attend. I get to hear people share and open up about their lives and realize I am not alone. I get to sing songs that make me cry and see how broken I am and in need of God to get me through another day as well as all that he’s done for me. I get to hear the Pastors talk about real issues that impact our lives today and how God fits into this. I’ve heard amazing stories about people who have been involved in drugs, sexual addictions, abortion, pornography, homosexuality, homelessness, anger, bitterness, abuse and so much more. To see where they are at and what has happened in their lives can only help me believe that God is very much, real alive and at work today just as he has been all along.
Because of others who claim to be Christians and what they have done, a few years ago I stopped calling myself a Christian and began identifying myself as a follower of Jesus. I’ve been following him since I was 7 years old. I’ve had a hard difficult life; I’ve done some really horrible things that essentially I deserve to die for. However I have been extended grace by God and through others.
A quote I really identify with comes from Gandhi “I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ.” To me to follow Christ means you read, study, interact and really live out what he came to do and that was to serve others and not be served. I ultimately believe that love is the answer. Loving people where they are at, not judging, accepting and hearing people’s stories of where they have been.
I know that I have done things that bring shame to the name of Jesus. I really don’t want to live my life that way. I hope that when people see me, interact with me they will have a glimpse of Jesus. My journey isn’t over and someday I do believe that I will stand before God and I will have a conversation with him and my greatest hope is to hear him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.