I recently saw something in a video/computer game that made me think about how some people see Christians. We aren’t always portrayed as we should be seen. But sometimes we are portrayed in a painfully accurate manner.
Now – before we start! – I’m not saying that all video games portray Christians badly, nor am I saying that all video game developers and players dislike Christians. Also I am not saying that all Christians are perfect.
Also, I may be stepping on some toes here.
Now we can start.
I’ve seen Christians, and other people with a belief in God, portrayed as very, very judgmental people, using belief in God to justify harshness. Sometimes we are portrayed as very hateful people who just won’t change, using belief in God to justify blatant wrong-doing. These are sometimes painfully accurate views, depending on the Christian. Saying God is love and then not expressing love is hypocritical, and is also, of course, very off-putting. We ought not to represent God that way.
John 3:16 says that God loves the world. He sent His Son so that whosoever believes can have eternal life. 2 Peter 3:9 says that God does not want anyone to perish. He wants everyone to come to repentance. God loves everyone the same, and wants everyone to go to Heaven. He leaves the choice up to each of us.
When it comes to judgement, the Bible says to judge yourself before you judge others (Matthew 7:1-5), and to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:14-15). While we are all built to judge between right and wrong, we are really, really bad at it. We also tend to surface-judge and go no further. I’m calling common ground on this one; Christian or non-Christian, we’re all bad at this. Why? Because we’re human.
But we’re worse when we think we’re better than the person we are judging – which is usually why we judge in the first place. Christians tend to have a problem with this because when we know we are God’s children, it sometimes makes us feel better than the “heathens” around us. But it shouldn’t! It should humble us that God Himself forgave us! We aren’t better than anyone. We’re exactly the same except for what we (should) do with our lives now, and where we are going when we die.
“Ah, but what about 1 Corinthians 6:9-10?” some might say. “It speaks here about all the sinners who will not inherit the Kingdom of God.” Indeed it does. But let’s not forget the start of the next verse, “And such were some of you.” We Christians weren’t going to Heaven either. But we became washed. Once again, that should humble us! Judgement is God’s job. Christian, your job is to accurately represent the love of your King. Look at John 3:16 again, and read the next verse, too.
Yes, Christians are to know right from wrong and to warn others, but we are to do it in love. Everyone has a problem taking correction when it comes from a stance of arrogance or disgust. From my own standpoint, I find it harder to believe that the correction is even correct at all if it comes from a wrong attitude.
Before you judge someone, be sure that you have let God show you what you need to change in your own life first, and that you are actually doing something about it. Then be sure to tell the truth in a loving manner. Be aware, sometimes you can say something in the most loving way possible, but it will still sound like harsh judgment to some people. Just let go of that and let God have them. He knows what He’s doing.
If someone is judging you, just ask God about it and see what He thinks. You may not always like His answer, but His answer is always right. God is a Righteous Judge. He’s never wrong.
But He is also merciful. When He points out your problem, He also points out the solution.