Culture Challenge of the Week: Exclusive Christianity
Christianity is the most inclusive religion the world has ever known.
Despite the "bad" rap - both earned and unearned - that Christianity often gets as a religion that is reserved for only "church" people, or Western people, or whatever - the Bible makes it crystal clear that true Christianity, when preached like Jesus preached, is the "big tent" of all faiths.
The familiar image of a judgmental, mean, religion has often been sadly "earned" by the way many of us as Christians live out our faith - and I include myself in that indictment. We are imperfect. We stumble on our words when explaining what we believe. We lash out, act hateful, and mess up all the time. Sadly, if we aren't humble and honest about our failings, all some people see in us is hypocrisy. If we don't share about the time we spend on our knees asking for God's forgiveness, or if we don't extend that same forgiveness to others when we are wronged, then all some people know of us is our ugliness.
Yet, even then - amidst our imperfections, Christ loves, forgives and still accepts us. This is the good news - the real Gospel of Christianity. I see and feel it in my own life, and the Bible breathes it in nearly every story. Filled with historical figures and thousands of examples - from kings, to peasants - the beauty and message of the Bible is how God works through the lives of imperfect people to fulfill His perfect plan. Over and over we see the story of redemption. Of how men and women from all walks of life are accepted and redeemed by Jesus.
Yes, part of Christianity's image problem also comes from those who intentionally mischaracterize Christianity. Call them the "enemies" of Christ, if you will.
But even then, Christians are called by scripture to remember that we, too, were once enemies of Christ. Yet, in his infinite grace, love and mercy for all of us, Jesus died and paid for our sins before we even cared enough or knew enough to be interested in his message.
How To Save Your Family: Practice the Truth of God's Infinite Love
The book of Romans is an awesome place to be reminded of how accepting Jesus is. Romans chapter 5 is one of my favorites. Take a peek at chapter 5, verses 6-10: