Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Christians aren't perfect!

Some non-Christians, often atheists, say that Christians are hypocrites and that they don't practice what they preach.

It got me thinking. In one way or another, aren't most Christians hypocrites sometimes? No Christian meets God's standards all the time, so its inevitable it will happen sometimes.

If all Christians were perfect and never made mistakes then they wouldn't need Jesus. If we were all perfect, the cross wouldn't have been required. Its very naive and misguided to think that Christianity is flawed because Christians are hypocrites.

That's missing the point.

Christians won't ever be perfect. However, the one person that matters is - Jesus Christ. He was without sin, without hypocrisy, without error. He was sinless and perfect in everything he said and did.

He's our example as Christians, He's our Lord, the one we follow and are obedient to. Or at least trying to anyway.

That's why I've put 'Trying to live like Jesus every day' at the top of my blog, instead of 'living like Jesus every day'. It would be a lie to post the second one, because I don't live like Jesus every day.

Parts of the day, yes. Trying, yes. But I'm not perfect. I make mistakes, I get angry occasionally, I say things I don't mean sometimes, I have bad attitudes sometimes, I treat people poorly sometimes. I am not perfect.

We are all works in progress. We all make mistakes. The great thing about Jesus is that despite all the things we do that offend and hurt Him, He is always there to accept us, forgive us and show us mercy and grace. Nothing we've earned, but something given free despite us not deserving it.

That doesn't mean He makes it easy for us, or He lets us get away with it. Far from it, its very hard to face up to your mistakes, but we all have to do it. Admitting you are wrong about something is one of the hardest things to do.

Even Paul, the great evangelist and the writer of so much of the New Testament, struggled with this. In Romans he writes of his struggles with living how Jesus asks us to.

Romans 7:19-21 (New International Version)

"For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me"

Its not easy at all, especially when we live in a society which is so cynical, merit-based and consumer-orientated. Being a Christian in the West is counter-cultural and so its very hard to stick to it at times. But does that mean you're not a Christian? Does that mean that following Jesus isn't important to you? Of course not.

But none of us is perfect. We need to be working towards becoming more like Jesus, of course, but that is a daily process of continuing to make choices which are in line with how God wants you to live, in every area of your life each day.

Being a Christian is to make your whole lifestyle revolve not around the culture we live in, but to live your life in such a way as to try to re-define culture to God's values and standards, in a non-judgemental way. In a way of love, peace, grace and forgiveness.

That's the ideal, but we're not perfect. As Christians lets remember that, lets not act like it and lets just tell people that we're not perfect and that we make mistakes like anyone else, the same mistakes often. The only difference is that we have a way of dealing this, and we have a higher set of values and standards to aim for.

We don't always reach them, and we won't until after we die.

But we keep working towards them, we keep focussing on that goal. On becoming more like Jesus and living life how He has called us to.

Christians aren't perfect.