I love this picture. It makes me laugh every time I see it but it also makes me sad because it can be true. Gandhi said:
I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.
I remember another friend of mine who didn’t like going to church but he thought that Jesus was really cool. Thousands flocked to Jesus when he was on the Earth. He had something worth saying and his message was life changing. If you are a Christian how do you live? If Gandhi could spend a day with you, would he change the way he viewed Christians?
Some people believe that the Church is a place that is only for people who are good enough or who are the right sort. Nothing could be further than the truth! The faith promoted by Jesus was one that was taken up by people who were the wrong sort according to the religious people of the day. People came to Jesus with their imperfections and sin and some turned to him and called on him for forgiveness and he forgave them and he led them in a new life. Jesus never sent anyone away who was imperfect and he never sent people away who didn’t agree with him or who didn’t want to follow his teaching. His key leader in training Peter cut off the ear of one of the people who had come to arrest Jesus, he also denied knowing Jesus and on another occasion he told Jesus he couldn’t go to Jerusalem even though that was where Jesus said he was going. In Peter we see the best and worst of the Christian faith, but Jesus loves him and still chooses to work with and through him.
Where we Christians go wrong often is that we try to portray ourselves as perfect rather than the truth which is that we have been forgiven but that we are also on a journey of change. I’ve heard it said that:
God loves us as we are, but he also loves us too much to leave us that way.
When we turn to and follow Jesus we are born again, spiritually beginning a new life . The Bible also talks about us reflecting the glory of God as he changes us. Paul who wrote a lot of the New Testament talks about a battle going on in every Christian between the Spirit (God in us) and our sinful nature. Who will we side with? Will we live for ourselves only or do we want to live for God?
I hope we are secure in God’s love, acceptance, forgiveness and grace but that we are also so grateful for these things that we want to work with God’s Spirit in us so that we are changing to become more like Jesus.