I have a few non Christian friends; some belong to other beliefs, some non active Christians (saved but not living for Christ), “spiritual” (those who know that God exists somewhere but have no desire to live for him) and some professed atheists. Ironically, we have a lot of religious conversation and to my surprise sometimes they know more about what Jesus said and his expectations than some of my own Christian friends. Some of them ask me to pray for them when they are in the middle of a situation.
In our conversations I’ve identified certain trends of why some of them are not attracted to Christianity, so I wanted to share them with my fellow believers, because they do have a point.
- It’s not Him, it’s y’all-I’ve never heard even atheists’ bad mouth Jesus or Christ. It’s not Him who bothers them, they don’t like Christians. As soon as someone proclaims to be a Christian in front of them they form an expectation of how we should behave and we tend to fall really short in that expectation, giving us very little credibility to our words. In other words, our walk doesn’t match our talk.
- Judgment-We are perceived to function out of judgment and not out of love. Some unbelievers are living lives that according to the Christian walk is outside of the “acceptable”. Some of them have had experiences were they have attempted to reach out to learn about Christ and have been received with judgment about how they are going to “burn in hell” for their actions instead of loving them through their circumstances. I have to stop here and say that this happens to Christians who leave the faith as well or to some of those non active Christians that I was talking about. As humans, we can all fall short of the glory and what are we to do. Galatians 6:1 reads “’ Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted” If the sin of that person is a personal struggle for you, don’t go there, the point is not for you to fall, but help directing the person to someone that can actually help, in love. If it’s a struggle for you, seek help, because it means that you have unresolved situations yourself. Be honest about it. But how many times have people been humiliated and condemned for what they have done instead of pursuing their restoration.
We also sometimes forget how we got to the feet of Christ. I’ve been on both sides of this equation. Personally, when I became a Christian I was very young, so I didn’t experience the redeeming life with Christ after big fallout. I was prideful. I didn’t understand why people couldn’t get it together, until I fell on my face and didn’t know how to come back. It was then when I understood mercy and grace. God placed loving people in my life to show me the way back, but those people never made me feel like I was scum and they were holy, which brings me to my next point.
- Being genuine- Life in Christ is a journey not a destination. I think much is emphasized in the church and the rules than the relationship with God. With this I’m not saying that church and guidelines are not important or necessary, but many times we try to make people act a certain way that they are not ready to instead of loving them through the process and allowing the Word of God and their personal relationship to Jesus to flow and do the changes that GOD wants to make in a person, not the ones we want to see.
Just like a child knows when someone loves them or not, wounded people know too. If you honestly don’t love someone, don’t try to fake it, they will know and your words will mean nothing, especially if you’re saying that you love them in Christ.
- Authenticity-Trying to fake life and present a holier than thou image just because you’re a Christian and present that once you received Christ live was a bed of roses repels unbelievers more than anything. When people are struggling, thinking that there’s no way that God would accept them where they are now, keeps them away from Christ.
I have a friend who has had some of my same struggles, she was key in my return to Christ because I saw how even though she had gone through, God made it happen for her. She taught me the steps to take out of the gutter and how I had believed the lie of no redemption and how God really wanted me, but she didn’t do it by Bible thumping although we did speak of the Word. She did it by sharing with me how through the Word, God spoke to her in her darkest moments. Wait! She has dark moments being a Christian…Huh, there’s hope for me!
I knew then what to pray for and how to stand on the Word of God, because of her story. Is she perfect? No! Is she living a perfect rosy live now? No! She has a real life with the same struggles that everyone has, the difference is how she overcomes them and that inspires me to overcome mine and hang in there.
Why was this instrumental? Because even though I knew the Lord, up until that time those speaking into my life were just pointing out what I was doing wrong and how I was going to burn too if I didn’t get it together. If I, who knew the Lord couldn’t get back, how do you think someone who doesn’t know his love would feel even compelled to try? Someone said that you may be the only bible someone reads. If you’re condemning other people’s lives, that’s what their erroneous bible is teaching them about a life in Christ. If you’re not real with your own struggles and your own difficulties then, they will know that you’re not trustworthy and that the god that you claim to serve is just as phony as you are. Is that how you want to present Christ to others?
When this subject has come up I’ve told my friends to look at Christ and not at us, because we are human and jacked up. All I can do is try to live as genuine as possible, pray and allow God to work in their hearts and in mine (because I’m still a work in progress), because at the end of the day Salvation is a personal decision and it’s not me who saves, but He who lives in me. So you my fellow believers are you living an authentic life or do you wear your Sunday mask every time you have to talk about Christ? Do you talk about Jesus, or do you try to live like Jesus?
Food for thought,