I’ve seen a number of blog posts in the last few years that are titled something like this: “Things Christians Believe That Aren’t True.” There’s usually some number affixed to the beginning so it becomes a list.
There’s also funny lists of what Christians say. There’s even a really funny video:
I feel like I’ve seen hundreds of things like this. But nowhere have I seen statements that Christians don’t say but should say.
Here’s six for you.
1) “Your political views don’t improve or detract from your status as a Christian.”
For some reason, it becomes imperative that Christians must prove their Christianity by supporting or opposing particular political causes. If I had a quarter for every Christian who posted #DefundPP on their Facebook or Twitter over the past month, I could afford to subsidize the program myself. If I sat here and wrote an article supporting Planned Parenthood or being neutral on the issue, I think some Christians might question what happened to my head. (Yes, I’ve fallen on it a couple times in my life.)
Here’s the truth: you can be a Democrat, Republican, Independent, Libertarian, Green Party, whatever, and still be a Christian. Being a Republican doesn’t make you more of a Christian than being a Democrat. At the end of the day, your political views mean nothing in regards to your salvation, being a Christian. At the most, it might reveal what you view as important or less important, but it doesn’t deny your faith.
For instance, I’m not super all about defunding Planned Parenthood. I believe there are bigger fish to fry, particularly in the abortion game. I wrote a post about it here. But that doesn’t make me less of a Christian just because the majority of Christians might not agree with me, just like tweeting “#DefundPP” doesn’t make you more of a Christian.
2) “Jesus didn’t wait for people to stop sinning before loving them.”
I think this is something that is generally understood, but something that needs to be reiterated. And I think this goes two ways.
How often do you, in your life, think about having to clean yourself up before you pray/read your Bible/lead a group/share the Gospel? Jesus loves you and qualifies you for service in spite of your sin. You’re not thought of less because you sin. You just need Jesus more, and He loves you and wants you even in your sinful state.
And this goes for others and how we treat them as well. If we want to echo Christ in all we do, we’ll love people who are sinful. We’ll love people even the world, but particularly the Church, might consider unloveable. We’ll love the prostitutes, the porn addict, the murderer, the gay person, the rebellious child, all of them, even if they don’t think what they’re doing is sin. Jesus didn’t wait for us to figure out what sin was before offering His love freely to us.
3) “Cussing, drinking alcohol and listening to secular music doesn’t make you less of a Christian.”
Using cuss words is not a sin. There is no word that is naturally sinful. Drinking alcohol is not sinful in and of itself. Alcohol is not naturally sinful. Listening to “secular music” is not sinful in and of itself. Just because the person writing it isn’t a Christian doesn’t make the music sinful or bad.
There are obviously qualifications to each of those. I won’t cuss in certain situations because it won’t be edifying or enlightening to those around me. Drinking alcohol under the age of 21 is sinful because it’s against the law and it’s disregarding the authority God has placed over us. Secular music is like profanity – it depends on the situation.
What’s more important than the actions themselves is the heart behind them. While cuss words may not be sinful in and of themselves, they may be used disrespectfully towards another person or even God, and in those cases the use of them is sinful. Drinking alcohol to get drunk or underage is sinful because the heart behind it is either carelessness of mind or the wrong use of something to escape from issues or rebellion against authority. And listening to secular music to spite parental authority or for some self-seeking purpose that isn’t godly can be a reflection of a discontent or selfish heart.
So you can be a Christian and cuss, drink alcohol and listen to Jay-Z. Yes, it’s possible.
4) “You don’t have to go to church to be in community.”
Justin Bieber made news recently with his comment about church: “You don’t need to go to church to be a Christian. If you go to Taco Bell, that doesn’t make you a taco.” Funny comparison, but entirely true. Not that every Christian responded well. Laura Turner of Religion News Service wrote, “Bieber’s point about the church is important, and it shows us how far we have to go. But I also hope that anyone who calls themselves a Christian will, at some point, see the vitality and beauty of a church congregation, and see what’s missing when they’re not around it.”
The Bible is insistent on believers finding community, finding brothers and sisters in Christ to surround themselves with for encouragement and challenge. But nowhere is there a command that says, “Thou shalt visit a church building once a week for at least two hours.” Going to church is awesome and is an easy place to find community, but it’s not entirely necessary. You can be in community, you can be among believers without going to a church building.
If you’re purposefully avoiding church to avoid community, perhaps there might be an issue. But people who leave the church and are still Christians don’t need to be condemned for their decision. Maybe they’re just looking for real community they’re not finding there.
5) “We don’t condemn you for how you sin differently than we do.”
We have a nasty habit in the Church of judging certain sins to be greater than others. Because of this, we tend to treat people according to where their evident sin fits on the hierarchy. We’re more likely to be dismissive of the gay person than the person who struggles with pornography, more dismissive of the person who cusses than the guy who is a serial dater and cares little for women.
My point is this: we shouldn’t be dismissive of either. We should not condemn those who sin because it is only God who has the license to condemn, and those in Christ should never be condemned. We don’t say this enough. We don’t let people know that, just because they might sin differently than us, they’re loved less or thought of less by God.
6) “We suck at following Jesus. But He loves us anyways. How awesome is that?”
This statement is two-fold.
First, it displays the honesty that we must display as believers. In Scripture we get to see realness from people like David and Paul, a realness and honesty and transparency that encourages and comforts us. But we hesitate from it so often, especially when it comes to how we talk about our walk with Christ. Since we sin every day, it’s hard for us to honestly say we’re doing well following Christ. So admitting that we suck at following Jesus is perhaps the most honest thing we can say.
But the coolest part is this: Jesus loves us when we suck at following Him. He loves us when we’re doing well at following Him. He loves us no matter what. How awesome is that?
This is the crux of the Gospel. And if we’re going to be saying any of these six things more, it’s this one. It’s the one message that will save people from eternity apart from God.