Are You a Crabby Christian?
Wow. Whether you watch the daily news or prefer to ignore it unless something “significant” comes up, the world-wide moral atmosphere is hard to miss.
We’re seeing blatant acts of discrimination and violence,
Public, abusive outbursts
Calling good evil and evil good
Divisiveness in the church (and outside too, obviously)
Those who bite and devour one another – even inside the faith
You know it all as well as I do. There’s no escape from it.
From where I sit, it seems that all the negativity in the world is making us Christians rather…
(how should I say this?)
We’re quick to judge and slow to listen. We issue a verdict before gathering evidence. We criticize without first trying to understand. We believe we know a situation without feeling compelled to investigate. We have great hope, but choose to keep it to ourselves.
Do you see it too?
In all fairness, it’s hard to hold fast to our convictions while simultaneously loving our neighbors as ourselves. It feels impossible at times. How do we balance our call to love the lost without embracing their sin? How can we shine for Jesus when we feel that the darkness has consumed our light?
Encouraging Reminders to Combat Crabbiness:
I’d like to share a few important reminders today and trust they’ll encourage you as they do me. I pray they’ll embolden you to portray your life-changing decision to follow Jesus to a lost world. May they help you show the love of Christ instead of the crabby side of our faith:
- Darkness cannot overtake light. It’s impossible. If you go into the darkest closet in your home, shut yourself in by closing the door, and turn on a flashlight, what happens? Does the darkness swallow the illumination of the light? No. The opposite happens. The dark closet becomes brighter. You’re able to see things you couldn’t before your light began to shine. Light brings understanding and hope. Remember to shine the light of Jesus throughout your world.
Here is a well-known quote that I heard a pastor use recently: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” (Martin Luther King, Jr.)
- We are ambassadors of Jesus Christ (see 2 Corinthians 5:20). An ambassador is one who represents another, most often in a foreign land. Their role is to show the character and nature of the one they serve. If we portray ourselves as crabby Christians, we portray Christ – and Christianity – as unattractive and uninviting. Do our moods and bitterness reflect who Jesus truly is, or do we reflect the darkness of the world around us?
- In Christ, we have great hope (see 1 Peter 1:3-6). We can share that hope with a lost and hopeless world. Remember – we have something to offer. It’s not only a life-changing hope, it lasts for all eternity. People everywhere are hurting and filled with despair. By shining for Jesus – by showing the hope of His glory, we can serve as instruments to bring inspiration and expectancy to their lives.
- The Bible tells us to expect a declining moral climate. We shouldn’t be surprised by the lack of morality around us because Jesus told us it would come. He loves the lost, even in their sin. (He loved me in my sin and loved you in your sin, too). Can we love others as He’s called us to? Or are we too consumed by the disgust we feel about what we see? We’re called to love as He loves – and He gives us all we need to do it.
- Christ has changed our circumstance. While we were bound by the slavery of sin, Christ made us alive in Him. We were once destined for hell, but are now sealed for eternity with Him. We used to be under the authority of the ruler of this world but now the Holy Spirit dwells in us and empowers us to walk as children of the Most High King. We once had no hope, but someone cared enough to introduce us to Jesus. What if they hadn’t? Everything about my life is different because of the hope I have in Christ. I believe you can say the same thing. What if no one had told you the truth? What if?
- Christians don’t have it all together. None of us do. We’re all constantly learning and not all of us encounter the same lessons at the same time. I may have learned lessons about a certain sin that you will never confront in this lifetime. You may have overcome addictions that I will never have to face. Yet, we are highly critical of one another when we don’t all act in the same manner. We’re taught to value uniformity, but Jesus created us all as individuals who each have different gifts, talents, and experiences that comprise the Body of Christ. Visit Romans 14 for a more thorough look at this. Then let’s begin to encourage and lift-up rather than condemning and consuming one another.
- It’s okay to reflect joy. It’s a manifestation of the Holy Spirit that dwells in us and we are not required to hide it under a bushel. Even when tragedy strikes. Even when our world goes completely haywire. Our joy is part of the hope that we profess. It’s okay to let it shine. In fact, it will draw others to us. They’ll begin to see that Christ gives us more than what they are currently experiencing. It will win others to Him.
We have great hope to share with a lost world. Many will reject that hope, but we’re called by God to go out and find the ones who will embrace it. So let’s get to work. Let’s remember what Christ has done for us and who we are in Him. Then let’s shine for Jesus instead of confirming the world’s belief that Christians are crabby. Let’s show the world what we’ve got and let them know they can have it too, because Jesus loves them. Amen?
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