Although I consider myself to be a believer in Christ, and have been since I was baptized in the Puget Sound in September of 2013, I always hold onto my reservations.
No, I don’t have any reservations about Jesus, just the community of Christians or religious folk as a whole entity.
Some may argue that religious folks are the kindest people you will ever meet. This is right, this *can* be true. However, in my experience, many Christians are entitled, know-it-alls who stick their nose up at anyone who doubts or has adversities.
Now. I am the first to admit that I am not perfect and I am a sinner. I am the first to admit those facts. However, the gospel preaches love and acceptance and kindness, and I often see those whom claim to love Christ to laugh at the homeless, ignore the unforgiven non Christians, and ridicule Christians who don’t live 110% like they do.
Now I am not perfect in any sense, but when you are designed, as a believer, to shine God’s light and you are representing toxic Christianity instead, that is a sin within itself.
“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”James 5:6
So how do we address this issue? We can only control ourselves and what is in our power, but we can have a dialogue with those who believe in God and that we feel as though they are being toxic.
You may be asking, besides the things listed above, what also contributes to toxic Christianity?
The answer to that is ignorance. Ignorance is just a lack of knowledge, so more often than not when a person turns up their nose at a beggar on the street or belittles other Christians about what they are doing that’s either right or wrong; they don’t know better.
To solve this, we must not ridicule those who believe, or don’t believe, just because their views are different than your own.
For example, I had someone on my blog that stated I needed to stop swearing in order to be a better Christian. I swear like a sailor, but you know what? God knows my heart through and through and he knows that I sin every moment of every day. He knows I am striving to know Him and be better in Christ every moment of every day too.
I think we often fail to realize that Jesus is very forgiving and loving. He is the definition of unfailing and unconditional love. He is a powerful God, but at the end of the day, we are His children and as long as we ask for forgiveness for our sins, He will forgive us. We must also forgive each other as He has forgiven us.
So, should I swear? Should I encourage and act in sin? Of course not. But I also think we fail to realize that sin is inevitable; we cannot escape all sin. As humans, we will always fail, but it is in Christ’s dying on the cross to save us as sinners, that we are pure in Him. But there is a way for going about telling someone else you believe is in the wrong, and want to steer them in the right direction.
First off, pray for them
Ask God for forgiveness of that individual’s sins. Ask that the Lord blesses them and rights their wrongs in His way and own timing. If you have a calling in order to help someone, you need to respect God’s commands, but do it in a way that is right by that individual.
For example, if you disagree with another person who claims to love Jesus, and they are blatantly acting in sin against God’s wishes, pray about it. Ask that God shows them the light, and if you must interject, show them the light. Now this does not mean to say to that person that they are wrong or shameful or any of those things. It means to reflect God’s goodness and His light onto that person.
In other words, it is important not to deter that person from Christ and directly calling someone out for their words or actions could make someone waver in their own beliefs in Him.
If you must tell the person about their way of life…
God has His own timing and way of doing things. Part of HIs plan could be for you to be the light and the way for someone else to come back and see God’s way and life. You should not just list what that person is doing wrong or leave them hanging. You must provide a plan of action.
“Hey [name]. Can we discuss Christianity for a bit? [Person disagrees, leave it be; person agrees, keep talking] God has put [issue] on my heart a lot and you came to mind. Since you participate in [sin], I feel [blank]. I love and care for you as a person and person in Christ, and want to help in whatever way I can. Is there any way I can help you stop this? [person doesn’t want help, leave it be; person wants help, they will ask] [person gives thoughts on the matter] Now this is the time where if you’re on the receiving end of the conversation to be receptive to feedback and to know that it is coming from a loving place. Listen and take to heart the conversation. Be honest with the person. Show compassion.
You must truly care about a person to show them right from wrong and it is your obligation to help that person through adversity if you are choosing to confront them about it.
Anyways, rant over. Hopefully this helps someone out there and if not, it helped me to get on my soapbox. If anyone wants to have a respectful dialogue about this topic, comment below or ask for my email in the comments.