What is a Christian? Did you answer a hypocrite or one who tries to follow the teachings of Christ or a variation of these two concepts? Often these two concepts or variations of them are how people view Christians.
Just recently, my daughter played on a church league basketball team. Her team played against other Christian church teams. In the final game, when my daughter accidentally tripped a girl and even though she apologized, she was chastised by the other team as being unchristian. Meanwhile, throughout the whole game these same girls repeatedly said and did things that were by most people’s standards unchristian. So, what does being Christian mean? Does it mean to act superior and judgmental in the light of being “saved” or does it mean to recognize who is God and who is the sinner?
Christianity as a Journey
Our journey as a Christian progresses when we recognize that God is God and we are not. God is good, perfect, holy and all knowing and we are not. The end of the journey is when we are united with God in Heaven. At no point on the journey do Christians become God; they however, strive to be like God. In our daily struggles, sometimes we win and sometimes we fail miserably to be good representatives of Christianity. On this journey, we recognize our own failings and that we are only human. In addition, our failings help us to recognize our need to be forgiven and to forgive.
The basketball game I mentioned gave me a great opportunity to praise my daughter for doing what was right and to point out that in the end justice will rule. I was proud of my daughter and her team for how they handled playing against this other team.
Unfortunately, I forgot to remind them that the other team is on a journey, too. Instead of judging them as they judged our team/girls by some unattainable standard, we too must not judge them. After my daughter vented about the game, I wish that I had taken time to pray for those girls with her, to ask for forgiveness if any of our actions during the game had been unchristian like and to ask for help and guidance in forgiving them.
The Christian Standard
Some people manage to go a great distance on their journey towards God while still on earth, these people known as saints, set a high standard for all Christians. Non-Christians, Christians and wavering Christians judge all Christians by these standards of near spiritual perfection. Many times when I tell someone I am a Christian, I am judged as a prude, goody-two shoes, judgmental and I certainly can’t have or do anything fun. Yet, I recognize that I am not perfect, I make mistakes (lots of them-everyday) and I do things I shouldn’t probably do if I want to be close to God. I recognize that I’m human and I am not God.
The Other Side
While Christianity is a journey to be more like God and to be a reflection of God and His goodness the other side of the spiritual spectrum wants to be God. Great lengths are taken by that opposing team to convince us that we are God, we have the power, and we can rule the world or that God doesn’t exist or that there is no truth and love is a physical act based on feelings.
From God to Man
Christianity is about a God who became Man. It is about humankind recognizing who they are and seeking God. It is a journey of man to God and God to man. It is a relationship across unseen living waters of hope, truth and love. Once a person sets sail upon that journey, God will throw that person a line and won’t let go. God won’t let go even if the boat runs aground or is damaged by rocks beyond logical repair. God won’t let go even if the person struggles with fears of the unknown and tries to pull away. God won’t let go unless the person cuts the line and even then He will throw out more ropes. God won’t let go even if Christians screw up because He is God and He sees us for the beautiful creations that we are and He loves us. What we as professed Christians can only hope to achieve is to be a reflection of that love and it begins by seeing humans as humans and God as God.
Personal Reflection and Faith