I hear a lot of people, especially people who like to call themselves religious, talking about how they aren’t respected as they feel they should be. I can’t help but wonder, if that has anything to do with how unkind so many of them are? Don’t mistake a religious person for a Christian, because they aren’t the same.
Mark 2: 13-17 would be a great place to start if you want to know what the best example of how Christians should treat those they deem as sinners. Step one, in my opinion, would be starting with keeping your ideas of who is and isn’t sinner to yourself.
The last time I checked, I am just a person who is doing the best I can to do what I think is right, without special privilege to sit back and decide who is righteous and who isn’t. The moment I start doing that, is the moment I lose any respect I might have had from my fellow man.
My grandparents were the most kind and welcoming people that I have ever known. They were Christians and our whole community knew that, but not by them marching around saying how great they were, people knew it by their actions. My Pap worked in Asheville and had so many conversations with people from every walk of life, but he chose to be kind regardless of his personal opinion of their lifestyle; thief or community volunteer, it didn’t matter, he treated them with equal kindness. My Mammaw made food and you were welcome at her table, regardless of your social status. She didn’t drink, but I promise there was more than one alcoholic who ate at her table. They would’ve known she didn’t agree with their lifestyle and choices, but she didn’t belittle them or cast them out.
After all, when have you ever been talked down to, shamed, or mocked by a person/group and thought, gosh I think I should join in with them…? The answer is, never, for me.
Religious people want to blame “sinners” for the world’s trouble, but what is the point of a Christian if not to help lead others to Christ? If that’s our job, who is the real failure here?
Mark and myself have been more hurt by people who claim to be Christians than people who have absolutely no religious affiliations at all. If I put my faith in man instead of God, I would’ve left Christianity behind long ago. Thankfully I don’t, but imagine you’re a new Christian and a fellow “Christian” flat out lies to you and uses you for their personal gain, it would be hard to overcome.
I am so far from perfect and I will be the first to tell you that. I fall short every single day. I could always be more kind, that’s for sure. I am quick to get irritated with people and often say exactly what I am thinking. It’s one of my main character flaws, but I have quite a few.
I am, by no means, saying that you should let people walk all over you or treat you badly and continue giving and giving. I am saying that we should, at least, start with kindness. Kindness is simple. You don’t have to invite a stranger to live with you, but you can offer a meal to someone in need. Offer a listening ear instead of reprimanding monologue.
It’s the same way with Christianity. You don’t need to go around telling everyone what a great Christian you are, just strive be Christlike. You’ll fail sometimes, often if you’re like me, but you’ll help someone along the way and that’s what matters. That’s ALL that matters.
My biggest fear is getting to judgement day and having to answer for someone turning away from God because I decided they weren’t good enough for me to treat them like a person.
There is so much of that right now, people treating each other horribly because they have differing opinions, different social statuses, different lifestyles, or different skin colors. It’s unacceptable. Truly.
I do understand when people say and do things that cannot be undone, you have to remove them from your life. That’s okay. At some point, enabling people who need help is actually hurting you both. However, telling someone they are trash and not worthy of love is not the way to do that.
You can hold people accountable without belittling them. Set clear boundaries and establish consequences, especially in any kind of job. Bosses who claim to be Christians that treat people poorly is infuriating to me. Constructive criticism and clear guidance can help avoid turmoil between employees. Nothing breaks down a hard worker more than their superiors letting one who doesn’t care about their job at all go on, undisputed. Don’t mistake me saying be kind to people as let people take advantage of you.
My kids do so much better in any situation when I say to them, this is what I expect of you, do you think we can manage that? Having an open line of communication with them and them knowing I respect their worries, though they may seem quite small to me, they aren’t small to them.
To me, my whole job as a Christian is to learn what I am capable of learning about God and help other’s to do the same. I can’t do that if I have written them off as unworthy when my sins are no better than theirs. Paul (Saul) went from killing Christians to being an apostle. So maybe hop down off the high horse and stop deciding who is and who isn’t worthy, because truth be told, I am unworthy, but He still saved me.