Sep 22, 2007 / Vintage Christianity
Am I a Double Faced Christian?
It has been a while since my last article on the theme of true or vintage Christianity. This one will be a bit more different than the previous, yet the focus is the same.
What do I mean by double faced? In brief – the fact that among Christians I behave in one way and then among non-Christians in another. That was too simple… I don’t want to be misunderstood. I’m not talking about details, certain use of language, etc. I’m talking about a general attitude.
How do I behave among Christians… Well, I’ve noticed that I’m more critical, I expect more… often you would say I’m not as welcoming as I ought to be. I realize that often it’s also harder for me to truly love Christians (compared to non-Christians).
Then among non-Christians I catch myself to be much more lively, much more welcoming, certainly show more understanding… It’s just much much easier for me to express and show love for those people – whether they like me or not.
Recently I was reminded several times of the attitude of many of the religious leaders during Jesus’ time – they simply said despised those who did not profess a belief in God. My case is close to being the exact opposite of that. I’m saying close because I don’t think I’m that far to the extreme they had reached. The issue is alarming to me also because I’ve heard a number of people share with me that they feel in a very similar way.
I wondered and I pondered… Clearly there is no simple answer. However, several things which became more obvious, and I think have to do with the problem, are these:
- Love is much more than what we often limit it to. And by saying this I mainly refer to Jesus’ words that it’s easy to love the ones who love you, but we must love everyone equally. Naturally (for our current condition of humanity impacted by sin) it is preferable to focus our love towards the people we agree with, accept, need, etc. As for the others – some we tolerate, other we ignore, and some we strongly dislike. It should become our priority to love.
- Incomplete forgiveness is another aspect of the problem. We say we forgive, we try to act upon it, but very often our experience is that very few actually make it completely. Most of the time we end up stuck in the middle, not being able to forget and move on. Our interaction with other people sooner or later results in situations which demand forgiveness. However, what I often sense among the body of believers is that forgiveness does not come out of the depths of one’s heart and love, but out of the fear for being labeled a bad Christian by the others. Maybe sometimes we’re too quick to forgive and thus not being able to do it with our whole heart and mind. Forgiveness must be complete.
- We, Christians, often also believe others to be without mistakes. I say it this way, because it doesn’t quite make sense why we would expect it unless we believe it. Yet, all Christians make mistakes. And this is where it gets much more comfortable among non-Christians – because we believe them to be full of mistakes and actually expect them on regular basis.
- Sometimes, in the midst of our religious busyness we totally forget that it is not only the non-Christians who need Christ, his love, and our support (which testifies of it too). That’s what I call the exciting part of being among non-Christians – we get to save them (as if it’s us who do it!), get them in the right way, and move on to the next one. But with our brothers and sisters in Christ we behave in such a way, that thinking of God being present there just makes me ashamed and speechless.
Am I a double faced Christian? – Often, yes. Do I want to be? – Not at all. How do I change my current behavior and way of thinking? – Not quite sure yet… But this list is a good point for me to begin working from. What is your case?