When Bad Christians Happen to Good People

July 14th, 2007 • Category: My Favorite Scripture
by Julie Benson

Today’s scripture: Matthew 28:16-20 (NRSV) (The Message)

As you read, consider these questions: What might God be saying to me in this passage? What jumps out at me? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two before reading on.

My thoughts on this passage (Julie Benson):

I’ve talked to several people over the years who have been offended by Christians who have shown a bad example of Christian living. This may seem especially true in the glbt community, where folks have been bible-beaten and abused. One bad influence can affect a person’s mentality for a lifetime.

So what do we do? Well, we don’t have to defend the behavior of those Christians. Inconsistent or hypocritical Christians should never be a threat to sharing Christ with someone. Instead, we can turn the conversation into an opportunity to express the very reason why we all need Him.

I, personally, am not a Christian because I think other Christians exemplify ideal behavior or represent the perfect model of humanity. I am a Christian because of what Jesus Christ has done for me. So, why not share what we do know about Christianity and talk about Jesus instead? Who was He and who is He today? What can Christ do for anyone who believes?

We don’t have to prove that “our guys” are better than “their guys”. We can encourage our friends to keep the focus on Jesus and the need for Him in our lives. We can acknowledge their concerns by saying something like, “Yeah, I know there are some pretty lousy Christian examples out there, but it’s not about Christians. It’s about Christ.”

Let’s get a quick reality check: We’d all be in trouble if it was just about Christians — even the disciples didn’t always get it right. Not having to defend the attitudes and behaviors of other Christians grants us the freedom to focus on what it’s really all about: Jesus Christ.

Thought for the day: When you talk to someone about Christians, talk about yourself and how Christ has moved in your own life because you are the Christian you know the best.

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to start, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

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