Proudly Unpopular–Part 4

Even though the last part was more general, I still wanted to talk about why my faith is so unpopular, so you know what you’re in for.

You see, I think a lot of Christians have this idea that if we were just nicer people, more non-believers would be interested in our message. And to be fair, a lot of unbelievers do say that.

I won’t argue that Christians often don’t know how to live out the faith. Maybe to some that means it doesn’t work, but I’ve never felt that way.

When I was growing up in church, I always sensed this difference between myself and the other believers. I would think to myself that they had something I didn’t. I never knew what it was exactly. Some describe it as happiness, but I wouldn’t call it that. It’s not that I didn’t believe, I did, but I lacked something. Some meaning that my parents saw, and other adults saw, and I didn’t. After I became a Christian full on, I realized what it was.

Before I reveal it, I want to say something more. I’ve since noticed the same difference between other people I know, and between different families I know. You may have noticed that you feel different around different people. Some make you feel secure, some make you nervous, some make you focused, others distract you.

The reason I don’t think Christians themselves are an excuse to stay away from Christianity is that despite the difference I mentioned, I never found Christians to be any nicer, more friendly, or more inclusive than non Christians. They acted the same most of the time, except they prayed and talked about the Bible, and listened to a different kind of music. So what made the difference?

The faith itself. Maybe this won’t make sense if you haven’t seen it, but faith really is a part of your personality. It should be the most important part. And though I believed, I lacked the genuine, fulfilled faith that I saw in other people. Until I began to have it myself.

Until I did, I hated anything in Christianity that was outside my comfort zone of what I could trust. I had nothing to make me more ready for the harder parts of it.

And that is why people hate Christianity. It is not that Christians are jerks, religions of more violence and cruelty than Christianity are not knocked as often or as bitterly as it; it is because Christianity is scary. C. S. Lewis wrote that until he became a Christian, he was sometimes terrified that Christianity might be true. After he became one, he had sickening doubts that it might be false. The problem is, Christianity, if you understand it at all, is not something you can be half in and half out. You are either all in, or all out. The Bible gives no middle ground. I don’t say this to convince anyone it’s true. My point is that those who are concerned about being nicer about it to toher people have missed the point.

It is not a nice religion.

Now, I can already hear the protests from those of you who are Christians, telling me that we need to be loving. Oh yes, we do. We need much more of that, there never can be too much of love in the world. That is not what I mean. I mean that there is no easy way to become a Christian.

We’ve put way too much focus on nursing people into it. People come to church and leave unchanged, not because we aren’t loving, not because we aren’t teaching the Word of God, not even because we are making God too soft; no, no , no, you can’t exaggerate the kindness of God, as Amanda Cook said. People leave because they don’t share the faith. And they don’t see it in us because we haven’t been honest about it.

You see, real faith is fiery. It makes timid people bold, and foolish people wise. this actually is true of any genuine faith in a good thing, but especially in God.

Christianity is not meant to be popular. It shouldn’t be. Not because I don’t wish it was, but because the only way it ever becomes popular is by people neglecting certain parts of it. (Study Martin Luther, you’ll see what I mean.) It is a waste of our time to try to make it more appealing by selling it on the world’s terms. We just need to live it. And I don’t mean by loving others, though that’s a big part, but by loving God more than others.

People, until I loved God more than others, or myself, I couldn’t really believe on Him and trust Him. Whatever your experience with God has been, until it’s to that point, it isn’t actually faith yet. If you aren’t ready for that, that’s okay. I had to get there. I’m not making an altar call. I just want to set the record straight.

I really want my love for God to be the most important thing to me. I don’t care if it make me unpopular, because when you really get to know Him, you don’t care anymore. The Bible really won’t make sense to someone until they realize that it’s about God and the People who loved Him, not about rules.

 

Okay, this did get preachy, but I warned you; if you read his far, you wanted to hear it. So, thank you, and until next post–Natasha.

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