Do other Christians know how Christian you are? Well, it doesn’t matter...
Man, we care way too much about our reputations. Our concern for how others perceive us is a major motivating factor in many behaviors and decisions. Think about it. Our concern about our reputation controls the way we dress, the music we listen to, the places we go and the people we hang out with. Because, when we do all of this right, we can be a part of the popular crowd.
We all want to be one of the cool kids. And, in Christian circles, the cool kids are the ones who listen to the right Christian music, watch PG movies, say the right words during prayer, lift their hands during worship and devote lots of time to fellowship with fellow Christians.
Where does this leave the outsider? When we disengage with culture and non-Christians, can we love non-Christians? We are so concerned with being like the cool kids in Christian circles, we forget the purpose of being a Christian in the first place: to love God and to love others.
Jesus wasn’t the cool kid
Jesus was in a position to be the coolest of all the cool kids of his time: the Pharisees. He knows God’s Law more intimately than any of them did, and He could have easily outperformed any of them in following it perfectly. However, He also knew there was a better way. And this is the way He wants us to follow.
Jesus threw his reputation to the wind and pursued those outside the popular religious circle, which withheld love and compassion from the outcast of society. Jesus got his reputation dirty and invited these people into his new circle. A circle that can encompass all.
Step out of Christian culture’s circle and into Jesus’
It feels counterintuitive to say that Christian culture’s circle isn’t the same as Jesus’ because it should be. But, as you can observe, it often isn’t. Christians have come back around to a Pharisaical way of thinking. We have specific rules and traditions that you have to follow to be one of us, even before you believe.
If you were outside of this circle, you wouldn’t want in, would you? We didn’t think so.
Jesus knows that what people need is love and redemption, not rules and righteousness. He went so far for others that He sacrificed Himself to save all of humanity. Thankfully, none of us need to sacrifice ourselves, but we should follow His example of love. In doing so, we take part in His way of doing things, which is to stop thinking too much about what other Christians think of us and to start loving others unconditionally.