I’ll be extremely honest from the get-go and let you know that so-called “Christian” prejudice is a huge pet peeve of mine. It is, perhaps, one of the greatest hindrances to the spread of the Christian message in our modern culture. I hear stories of people seeking answers and acceptance that go to church and only be met with stares and accusation, which furthers their hurt and causes them to turn their back on God even more. If we truly desire to be like Christ, we need to meet people where they are. Even more so we should welcome the non-believer when they come to us, I mean for the love of all things good they came to us! That takes a courage the average skeptic does not usually exhibit.
It irks me that there is a vein of false ideology within Christendom; many within and without may view these as cults. Here we have people preaching the Gospel but with an outstanding flaw, they preach uniformity over unity. To them, one must becomes like all “Christians”, rejecting all manner of sin and living a rigid, fundamental lifestyle. These people shun alcohol, tobacco, media, and other worldly pursuits. According this brand of Christian teaching, I would considered a sinner, for I do not abstain from all they might claim evil. But I am not here to talk about the moral lines of my personal beliefs, rather I wish to argue a specific point about the calling of the Church.
The Gospel has always been, and will continue to be, a message of diversity. Jesus came for the Jew and Gentile, slave and master, man and woman. He ventured beyond his nature habitats to find and always welcomed those who needed him most (ie- Samaritan woman at the well, Zacchaeus, the Roman centurion, and the list goes on). Ironically, His interest was not to point out where they were wrong but to ask them a simple question: “Do you believe?” It was their faith that Christ was the Way, the Truth, and the Life that helps them turn a page in their life story. How much more so does our faith today speak volumes when we believe without that physical interaction? Therefore it is our faith that unites us as Christians, yet we too often get hung up on what makes us different.
While common interests or situations tend to create friendships, it is our differences that ultimately cause us to grow closer. Why is this not the case within the Church? Why is it that we have the tendency to split over small discrepancies on our opinions? Are we not all covered by the blood of Christ? That is the image I wish to see my Christian brothers and sisters as first and foremost (that is: as a redeemed child of God), for I am only the same. What we are beyond this is not eternally important, for once we shed this mortal form, we will move beyond the physical and share eternity in Heaven. Let us then learn to embrace those around us, those who seek answers, and those who are hurt by the evil in this fallen world as what they were ultimately created to be: a child of God. This is our greatest commonality, and all that truly matters; for the blood of Christ, which paid for our sins on the cross, has dealt with all the rest.