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I Don’t Like Your Christians

I saw a bumper sticker last week that I have been pondering. It read like this:

I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.

This bothered me on a couple of levels as I thought about it. On one level, I sought to discredit the person whose car it was upon. On another level, I thought to perhaps get their perspective on what would motive someone to put a sticker like this on their car. Perhaps they didn’t know any true Christians.

Perhaps they also didn’t really understand Christ. Perhaps they saw him as the blond haired, blue eyed Jesus who walked in billowy robes quoting “Blessed are the peacemakers…”

Perhaps they didn’t understand the fact that Christians don’t claim to be perfect. We all fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).

In researching for the blog, it is generally believed that this is a quote from Mahatma Gandhi. Gandhi was a Hindu all of his life, and as a Hindu would have been tolerant of other religions and other gods. Being of a different faith then, we can easily discount this criticism of Christians, and by default, this criticism of Christianity.

Or can we? In what ways are we Christians falling short of the glory of God in front of the world? Certainly moral failures of high profile believers don’t help. But what about beyond that? Are we living a lifestyle of worship and obedience that makes us markedly different so that we literally impact our culture? What do you think?

4 comments to I Don’t Like Your Christians

  • Bekah Hoesterey

    I believe that the biggest way in which we, as Christians, are unsuccessful in being Christ-like is our failure to show true grace as God has shown us. Think about it, how many times in our life have we experienced this concept that we claim to be so remarkably thankful for? How many times have we shown it to others? I’m not talking about situations when our best friend breaks our brand new iPod and we simply “let them off the hook.” That is not grace, that is mercy. Grace would be not only forgiving them for breaking it, but in addition, buy THEM a brand new ipod. Grace is getting the OPPOSITE of what we deserve. It is paying for the car repairs of the person who rear ended you, in spite of the fact that it was their fault. Grace is giving a student who failed to turn in an assignment a perfect score. Grace is unconditionally loving the best friend who continues to cut you down and say hurtful things to you. This concept of grace is something that most people have never experienced, especially from us Christians. I believe that we have a lot of mercy, but not a whole lot of grace the that God has so freely and lovingly given to us.

  • Dani Spil

    Unfortunately I feel like in some ways I understand this bumper sticker way more than I would like to. I feel like one of the main problems is the hypocrisy that takes place as a ‘Christian’. I went to a boarding school, that was a Christian school, where this was evident. Many people that came to this school saw the faculty and the way they lived their lives, and turned away, with a quickness to Christianity. They all had the same remark; “If thats what it looks like to be a Christian I don’t want to be one”. When we don’t practice humility, when we aren’t intentional in pouring out Christ’s love on others, when we become so self absorbed we not only fail in our calling as followers of Christ, but we fail at portraying who Christ really is, and his love, grace, and mercy for his people. Of course we are fallen people, so we will not succeed at this all the time. However it is necessary to try to the best of our abilities, and with the help of the spirit.
    I also agree though, that if the person that had the bumper sticker that said this, that he probably does not know who Christ is. I pray that as Christians, we can show the love of God through not only words, but with our actions. We are always being watched, and we need to remember that.

  • Grant McCurdy

    In the beginning of the third chapter of his book “Irresistible Revolution” Shane Claiborne recalls a day when he was in college, giving the following narrative:

    “I remember when one of my colleagues said he gave up Christianity in order to follow Jesus. I wondered what it would look like if we decided to really follow Jesus. In fact, I wasn’t really sure what a fully devoted Christian looked like, or if the world had seen one in the last few centuries. From my desk at college it looked like sometime back we stopped living Christianity and just started studying it.”

    Claiborne continues to tell how he does not feel that he truly met someone living as a Christian until he visited Mother Teresa’s home for the destitute. There he met a man from Germany named Andy who had been a successful businessman, but took God’s word literally and gave all he had to the poor and left for Calcutta to serve the poor.

    I find it very easy to jump up and defend Christianity against bumper stickers like the one being discussed, but in many ways I feel like what we need is more people who will live radically. More people who live like Jesus did. I only wish I could say I do. If this world is not our home why do we hold on to so many aspects of it? I have a hard time arguing that I’m anything like Christ. I take this bumper sticker more as a challenge and a reminder than as a lie or anything less than the truth.

  • Rocky Taylor

    I agree with Dani, in which one of the main problems is the hypocrisy among Christians. I too know of some people who claim to be “Christians,” but the way they live their life is completely opposite to what they profess to be. I know of some people who do not want to become Christians because of the hypocrisy they have witnessed among Christians. On this note, I think it would be good to evaluate what kind of fruit the church is bearing. Are we cultivating the Fruit of the Spirit, and is it so evident in our lives that non-Christians notice? We need to personally evaluate ourselves, in which, are we bearing the Fruit of the Spirit? Are we practicing what we are professing?
    But on the other hand, maybe the person with the bumper sticker is holding Christians to an incredibly high standard. While we should achieve to live for Christ the best way we can, we are not perfect beings. We do make mistakes, and hopefully that person realizes this point. Also, I agree with the fact that maybe this person does not realize who Christ really is. Maybe he or she is trying to put Christ in a post-modern worldview “box,” and making Him something that he is not. We need to pray that we need to strive to be like Christ, and always being aware of what kind of fruit we are bearing. As Dani said, “We are always being watched, and we need to remember that.”