Commonsense Christianity

Commonsense Christianity


Two Reasons Why the World Hates Christians

posted by Carolyn Henderson

“Christianity” and “Love” are two words that we hope are associated together. Madonna and Toddler, original oil painting by Steve Henderson of Steve Henderson Fine Art.

Christians have a bad reputation for being unkind, intolerant, harsh, judgmental, and self-righteous. Oh, and uneducated.

Now of course, anytime you speak about, or live, moral absolutes, you’ll get attacked by people who don’t want to be told — either by your words or example — that what they’re doing is wrong. Jesus Himself didn’t make a lot of friends on this planet.

From time and distance, however, most people, even those who don’t choose to believe who Christ is and what He says, concede that He was “a great teacher,” or a “morally upright man.” They don’t go on and on about His acrimonious unfeeling attitude toward the lives and feelings of others.

That’s reserved for us, His hands and feet, His voice and message, and Christ warned us that this would be so:

“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” (John 15: 18-19)

If They Hated Christ, They’ll Hate You

The world is filled with many travelers, all sharing the same space. Harbor Faire, original oil painting by Steve Henderson, sold. More of Steve’s works are at Steve Henderson Fine Art.

So the upshot is, if you are truly living for Christ, the eventual outcome is that many people who do not know Him — the world — will hate you, simply because of who and what your Master, Christ, is. And yet you, and I, persevere because the message which the world hates so much — that God loves us, deeply and dearly, and wants to enfold us in His arms — is one that individual people within the world are crying to hear.

That’s Part A of Why the World Hates Us.

Part B is a bit more disturbing, because it — justifiably — makes us look bad.

But Sometimes, There’s Another Reason

Too many times, people strongly dislike Christians not because of the message of our Master, but because of the attitude we project when we seek to convey that message. We come across as

  • Harsh
  • Unfeeling
  • Self-Righteous
  • Unforgiving
  • Defensive
  • Intolerant (this word is vastly overused by media moguls and propaganda pushers who seek to make any difference of opinion, on any issue that they manipulate, a matter of “hate.” Just because malevolent forces misuse the word does not mean that we avoid the matter. To be tolerant does not mean to back off and give in to the louder voice; it means to be courteous of the dignity of others, and not railroad our opinions through).
  • Inflexible
  • Small minded

 

This list can go on indefinitely, the point being that, when we walk into a room and make the rest of the people in it feel like slug droppings because they could never approach our level of holiness, virtue, saintliness and piety, we have actually failed to get across the veritable essence of those attributes. People — real people — were drawn to Christ because of His love, understanding, patience, sensitivity, and kindness, and He managed to convey, and teach, truth without abandoning any of these.

Christ’s Example Is the Right One

With the weak He was gentle; with the arrogant He was firm; with the foolish He was patient; with the cunning He was wise. But He Himself was never proud, demanding, merciless, or disagreeable. Far too often, we are.

But we serve a loving and gracious God, and if we back off and pull away from our outward trappings of religiosity, He works with us to show what real compassion, kindness, wisdom, discernment, and mercy look like, as opposed to the substitutes we so easily fall into.

Religiosity versus relevance: what’s the difference? Join me at, “I’m a Christian, but I’m not Religious.”

Thank you for reading Commonsense Christianity. I post three times a week, and I welcome your comments and thoughts — as we dialogue with one another, we learn from one another. And while we will not agree on every point (we’re not robots, you know), we can still love and support one another. Articles similar to this post are

The Statement No Christian Should Make

Unchurched or Church-Free?

Should Christians Think?

 

 



  • Carolyn Henderson

    Thank you, Parks. All Christians, at one time, were non-Christians, and it helps to remember what it felt like when we did not know Christ, and whose words helped us to see Him, and whose did not. And then we strive not to emulate that latter person.

  • http://thiswomanwrites.areavoices.com/ Carolyn Henderson

    Thank you, Parks. All Christians, at one time, were non-Christians, and it helps to remember what it felt like when we did not know Christ, and whose words helped us to see Him, and whose did not. And then we strive not to emulate that latter person.

  • Parks

    These reasons are very true, and it is helpful for our understanding of non Christians to take this into account. Well done!

  • http://thiswomanwrites.areavoices.com/ Carolyn Henderson

    JJMOlina — you know, that aspect of giving it all to Christ, letting Him work His will in our lives so that we will live the life He has purposed for us to live — it’s the crux of it all, isn’t it? And yet — oh!!! — how DIFFICULT it is!

    It is truly hard, but so worthwhile, to trust that God has the wisdom, grace, mercy, knowledge and love to form and direct our lives. And so loving is He that He won’t do so without our consent.

    Like you, I find this a day by day journey — to find the “good and acceptable and perfect will of God” — to be well worth following, despite its challenge, frustration, and difficulty. I seek His rest from my labors, and in the moments when I find it, I say to myself, “Why on earth would I want anything else?”

  • http://catholic.com JJMOLINA

    A further definition of identity is “the quality or condition of being kind to one another, tenderhearted, not only upon the first day of the Christian’s life. But as most of us leave our home and parents when we grow up, God knew. Good behavior cannot earn us salvation. But Christianity does have behavioral standards. It involves changes in the way we live.
    When you invite Jesus Christ to come into your heart and life to be your Savior the only way we can have the victory is get into Christ. The way you live as a Christian affects not only your life, but the lives of other. How do you “walk in the. Spirit”? As Christians, we live in a life that is different than the lives that we may have had previously.
    We are all failures without HIM (JESUS) that’s why HE came to prove it to us. Jesus Christ doesn’t want to help us live right; He wants to live the Christian life through us if we’ll simply yield to the Holy Spirit. Our Christian duty is to follow Jesus and please our Heavenly Father. God’s word gives us all the instructions we need to live a Christ-honoring life and to lay up to study the Word of God, we believed and we were certain this was divine. And it was.
    Can we believe the promises of the Bible that there is life —and that it is in this important area can have a impact on the way we live our lives. How can we set ourselves free from, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; can we lead a “new life in Christ” in an unbelieving age? In our work we have come to believe that the meaning we give any event determines how we live our lives for as a man thinketh so is he.
    I do not believe that anyone can live the Christian life without first and foremost He expects us to give up control of our own life’s and leave all guidance up to Him. We are called to serve God with all our hearts! Wholehearted Jesus Christ taught principles of Christian.
    Everything else in St. Paul, and everything else in our life as Catholics, We must “work out our salvation with fear and trembling. The power of the Gospel to change my life right now and be found with new life in Christ and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith . There can be many times in our lives that spontaneously we will agree or disagree we can experience the reality of Jesus Christ in our lives.
    He may know some things about me, but before he can say that he knows me, which is convincing evidence of the reality of the new life in Christ. We are all holy from the day of our birth, and therefore with our true blessings are mentioned which disciples of Christ will enjoy when their lives reflect.
    With the struggles of understanding, this new life in Christ can be made much sense to me. Makes us more and more free from sin and more like Christ in our actual lives all that human nature can bear, we may receive here born-of-flesh existence — if we do not live the life that Jesus lives in us now, there on me and answer, Whoever believes and is baptized has life, and whoever does not believe is condemned.
    That is, as Christ was exalted, so we also are spiritually through our lives in a personal way. He points out that we have all been given knowledge of God. We can each be assured that the teachings of Christ are the Words of our God. Jesus Christ’s perfect life of itself could not help us because we were time and age seem to conspire together to close the door on that. Jesus seeks to make a home with us, not visit occasionally, but live with us; live in us. The Old Life and the New Life In Christ.
    All we see are the conditions. When this happens, we are unable to respond with the right kind of action–with ministry, endurance, and faith. The same is true for faith according to Heb. 11:1. But 1 Corinthians 13:7 also says, “love bears all things, endures all things.”
    By faith we are to see the very real, though invisible realities about God’s person and the faithfulness of His promises and principles for life as revealed in Scripture (Ps. 19:7-9; 93:5; Rom. 4:17-21). In Romans 4:16, Abraham is called the father of faith. With Abraham as our father of faith, we can understand the faith God wants us.

    He was Confident in God’s Person (verses 17, 21), “even God, who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist,” “. . . He was able also to perform.” Faith knows God is the One who brings dead things to life and calls into being even the things which are not. The focus here is on God’s person.
    I do not believe that God and science are mutually exclusive. If there is scientific evidence for mindfulness improving health then I think God can use that. I have come to the conclusion that mindful meditation can be incorporated into Christian life.
    To me, this felt incomplete and I didn’t want to stop there. Instead, I looked for bible verses around the role of the body and the breath. After the meditation has ended I carry on in prayer and thank God for the life that He has given me.
    CONCLUSION:
    Only that I wanted to “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” But how do churches, universities and organizations actually accomplish our people want to know how they can make a difference, what he can experience a change of heart and live an entirely new life in Christ. If we have a negative mind, we will have a negative life. In our experience “the good and acceptable and perfect will of God” for our lives But couldn’t it be true that the unborn may already be granted the spirit of life.

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  • http://thiswomanwrites.areavoices.com/ Carolyn Henderson

    This is true, Phil. I am going to add a “however,” however — in our zeal to call out sin (and there’s a lot of sin to call out), we strongly risk being self-righteous, harsh, and hard. John’s account in chapter 4 of Jesus with the Samaritan woman at the well gives us a paradigm of how to act: Jesus did not begin the conversation by pointing out the woman’s sin; He talked with her quite awhile beforehand in an accepting and loving manner. She knew what her life was — and Jesus’ straightforward observation of it, after a friendly conversation in which He treated her like a human being — did not offend.

    Because we live in a world unfriendly to the message of Christ (as it always has been), we Christians have a tendency to lapse into the defensive, and our voices are shrill. While what we say may be truth, the manner in which it is said clouds this truth, and we have to ask ourselves, “Do we want to be ‘right,’ or do we want to be heard?” There will always be people whose hearts are hard and who will not hear, but there are many, many others who are willing to listen, but not when we alienate them and make them feel like sub-humans.

    I am a Christian, and I find myself in certain settings of highly dogmatic Christians feeling that I am a worthless person, somehow. Because I know Christ, and seek to follow the truth, I blow off these people with their misguided way of communicating, but if I were not a Christian, I would not be tempted, at all, to join the group.

    We must speak the truth. But in love. And the only way we can do this is to stay in extremely close connection with Christ so that His words speak through ours.

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