Are we really showing Christ to others?

How is the world seeing us as Christians?
Are we showing them the love of Jesus or are we loading them down with heavy burdens that we refuse to help them carry? (Matt 23:4)
Are we showing them into the Kingdom or are we insisting they have to conform to our standard before they’re allowed to enter? (Matt 23:14)
We readily defend and extend grace to professed Christians when their secret sins are exposed. However, we refuse to extend the same grace to those that won’t conform to the god we’ve made to resemble our politics, institutional obligations, self-righteousness, and manipulations. I can’t really blame those who don’t believe in that type of god. In a way, I’m glad they don’t because it would only obligate them to a system that stands in the way of the true and living God.
It’s so tiring to hear the same arguments that have been stitched together from out-of-context passages to bind others to an agenda rather than set them free to live a full life with Jesus in the Kingdom. Attempting to control someone by guilt, fear, and/or manipulation is NOT what Jesus is about.
Love wins a person’s heart and changes them from the inside. Guilt, fear, and manipulation only lead to a hateful form of religion. Justifying hatred for those “others” from the safe confines of a building does nothing for our call to be the salt and light of the world. It only makes us look like bigots.
I don’t write this out of anger. I write out of severe disappointment at the embarrassment that those calling themselves Christians continue to perpetuate on a hurting world.
This has gone on far too long. I’m deeply sorry if your finances are tied to ministry. I’m truly sorry if you feel you have to play the game in order to keep your livelihood. I know it’s hard and scary to admit fault and trust in God, I mean really trust in God and not just say it. I know it’s hard to watch as congregation attendance dwindles. It’s not an easy transition, but it’s a needed one for people to connect directly to Jesus without the filters that tell them they can’t.
If the institutions die, I say good riddance. I know that’s harsh, but anything that stands in the way of a direct relationship with Jesus needs to be removed. There is no excuse to stand in the way. Either trust Jesus with people’s salvation or don’t call yourself a Christian. It’s insulting.
Yes, I know that no one is perfect, but that’s not a viable excuse to stagnate and spew condemnation on others to try to appear more righteous. That’s not how salvation works and the rest of the world sees right through those ill-conceived attempts at religious superiority.
I begin to see why Jesus was often frustrated with the religious types and yes, I use to be one too.
Pray that Jesus will open your eyes and change your heart so that you can start reaching out in love instead of throwing condemnation from a distance on those you refuse to engage.
If you’re going to call yourself a Christian then suck it up and start living like Jesus. Otherwise, everyone will see right through the facade and know who your real father is (John 8:47).
It’s depressing to see a hurting world and Christianity being so obstinate and arrogant, pouring gasoline of hatred onto the fire. We could have been so much more by now, but Christians not following Christ keep tripping over their own self-righteousness.
Let’s become more than that. Let’s truly follow Jesus. Let’s no longer muck around in doctrinal quagmires that alienate us from loving others. Let’s move forward as the human race into the Kingdom that Jesus established for us through much pain and sacrifice. Let’s be THE Church!

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