There just might be a difference between being a follower of Jesus and a Christian.
There’s a Tik Tok trend I’ve seen recently that rings pretty true in my opinion. It portrays a group of people in a contemporary Christian praise/worship service, singing away, arms upheld to God. The caption says something like, “Christians in church after they’ve voted to cage children, suppress women’s rights, and worship a cheater, etc.” I’m paraphrasing, but you can look it up and check me.
I’m a Christian who, because of folks like this, is feeling more comfortable calling myself a follower of Christ rather than the name that associates me with people like that. And that sucks. Because with all the divisiveness in this nation of ours, faith should be one of those things that unite. And yet, even that has gotten messy.
In trying to figure out where I should stand on issues because I care about clarity and integrity on the stances I take, I look to my north star, which for me is Jesus. As someone who believes in Christ and His care for all of us, I need to know what He thinks. The more I’ve studied and reflected on His life and the way He lived when He walked among humans, the more convinced I am that Trump-supporting Christians who refuse to denounce his dishonesty, infidelity, racism, cruelty, lack of integrity, and disregard for humanity, have got it so completely wrong.
Remember this: The KKK uses the cross to terrorize people.
All the God-talk during the RNC made me want to throw a vase at my TV and then projective vomit all over the smoking ruins of my Samsung. But my TV needed to live another day, so I did some Bible study while watching. And that only proved that what I was seeing—what these Christians were supporting—was very different from what I was finding in the good book. Hypocrisy aplenty.
If you read about Jesus in the Bible, He was the opposite of what many Christians are currently standing for. Which is, in my opinion, a way of religious life more closely resembled Pharisees than anything. And you all know who lobbied real hard for Jesus to be crucified, right?
Christ hung out with “questionable” people, not the upper echelons of society. He didn’t do things the way the ruling class did, he called them out on it. He told rich people to give up their money and follow him. He welcomed the lowest of the low in society to eat with him talk to him. He told us to care for widows and orphans—as in feed and clothe them from our wealth—not expect them to claw their way out of the hovels of their poverty by themselves.
What did he think about rich people getting richer and twisting religion up in it? Check out the story of what happened when greedy fools took over the temple to line their pockets. Jesus let them have it, and in doing so made a very strong point about the sanctity of faith and what He thought about greed and greedy people. Was he going to stand by for such a hijacking? Nope. He didn’t, and neither should we (if you are a believer).
The modern-day irony of it all: the hijacking of a faith that came from a man who taught goodness, mercy, compassion, and forgiveness, by people who play by a different set of rules than that.
If you care about fakes as opposed to real deals, now is the time to set yourself apart. If you identify as a Christian and care about being true followers of Christ, your best examples aren’t going to be found in “Christians” whose actions fly in the face of the teachings of Jesus. The real deals might not be found in abundance in many churches for that matter, but they’re out there.
To riff a line from a campfire song that sounds like it was written in the 60s by a bunch of flower toting hippies, “You will know we are Christians by our love.”
So if you happen to be looking, that’s the thing to look for.