My Story · Uncategorized

My Story: Why Don’t Christians Act Like Christ?

The age old question: Why don’t Christians Act Like Christ?

While this question was raised in early childhood, it became increasingly an issue in college where I saw a much greater representation of the church than simply right wing, conservative, Bible believing, homeschooling Christianity. Certainly that brand of Christianity, which I was raised in, thought they were the truly faithful Christians. But I soon learned there were many other types of Christianity which had the same basic beliefs in God and Jesus as the way for salvation, but were quite different than how I was raised.

At Bob Jones University I was struck by intense legalism. This was the incredible focus on numerous rules and regulations which could not be readily derived from the Bible as if they were necessary for Christianity. If you’ve read my story up to this point, you’d probably think my childhood was legalistic to some level. It was to some extent. But Bob Jones was whole new level.

While Christ certainly stressed that there was a spirit of the law (Old Testament) which superseded the letter and was perhaps harder to follow, he also stressed not judging others, showing forgiveness, and not seeking outward approval of others. This was so clear to me even at a cursory reading of the New Testament, that to see it so clearly ignored by the majority of leadership at BJU was surprising. Bob Jone’s leadership seemed convinced that one couldn’t be a real Christian without following their ridiculous rule set.

I could at times perhaps forgive them for their rules and traditions (though in reality they were basically the Pharisees Jesus condemned); however, I found it nearly impossible to excuse their incredible lack of love or actual care for individuals. I left this school with a profound disdain for fundamental Christianity in its strictest form.

Upon arriving at Liberty, I found another interesting phenomenon. The most exuberant of Christians seemed to have the greatest flaws. The girl who partied the hardest, got the drunkest, and slept with the most guys, was also the girl who religiously attended church and posted Bible verses weekly on her Facebook.

Let me be fair: there were hard core party animals who didn’t attend church and there were Bible verse posting students who would never dream of partying. But it left me with an interesting conclusion: either these supposedly immoral acts weren’t really so bad or some people could truly live a double life without blinking. In retrospect I think it was a combination of the too.


16 thoughts on “My Story: Why Don’t Christians Act Like Christ?

  1. I have found the same thing., especially the hatred and fear of anyone who believes anything different, or isn’t the same color. And lots of hypocracy. There is a quote I just love by Anne Lamott, “You can safely assume you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.”

  2. Interesting post. Let me help you understand something about Christianity. Like all religions, it is fundamentally anti-social. It is about obedience and tribalism and allows love to exist only under that equation.

    Jesus is not a nice person and a ‘good Christian’ is instructed to be very harsh and judgemental :

    “The master shall cut him to pieces” – Jesus (Luke 12)
    JESUS describes what he intends to do to his own enemies.

    “..bring to me those enemies of mine who would not have me as their King, and execute them in front of me.” – JESUS (Luke 19:27)

    “Drown him with a millstone” (Matt 18:6)

    “And why do you break the command of God
    for the sake of your tradition? …. ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’ ” (Matthew 15:3)

    “…if they are unworthy..REMOVE your blessing of peace.” – JESUS (Matt 10:13)

    “I have come to bring FIRE…What constraints! I am impatient to bring NOT PEACE BUT DIVISION.” – Jesus (Luke 12:49-51)

    “Hate your parents…hate your life” – Jesus (Luke 14:26)

    “Eat of my body” and “Be baptized and believe” or “Be condemned to Hell” – Jesus (John 6:53-54) (Mark 16:16).

    “I shall kill her children with Death” – Jesus (REV. 2:23)

    “Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death…for ME.” – JESUS (Matthew 10:21)

    “I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his daughter, and a daughter against her mother, AND A DAUGHTER-IN-LAW AGAINST HER MOTHER-IN-LAW; and A MAN’S ENEMIES WILL BE THE MEMBERS OF HIS HOUSEHOLD.” – JESUS (Matthew 10:35)

    “And whosoever will not receive you, when ye go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet AS A TESTIMONY AGAINST THEM.” – JESUS (Luke 9:3-5)

    JESUS ENDORSED the stoning laws – He rejected any change to the stoning laws of Moses.

    “For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commands and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” – JESUS (Matthew 5:18-19 RSV)

    “not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law” – JESUS (Matthew 5:18-19)

    Inhabitants of conquered cities
    Victims of rape
    People who work on Sunday
    Uncircumcised men
    Men who have sex with women who are menstruating
    Ignorers of Priests
    Ignorers of Sacraments
    people who drink blood
    People who eat peace offerings

    1. Great comment. We are getting to that eventualy. This is a long drawn out story and I think I may be dragging it on too long. We are on the same page though and I appreciate your helpful and accurate feedback.

      1. You have obviously discovered why so many Christians are not very nice.
        The philosophy of Christianity is fundamentally divisive and anti-social.
        Whereas most people are naturally inclined to follow the golden rule (which requires no gods) : “Do not do unto others what you would not want done unto you” the Christian adds this horrible bit: “OR ELSE” and that is what changes the meaning and distorts it into a blunder.

    2. Max,

      Which verse are you referring to in Luke 12 when you state that Jesus said, “The master will cut him to pieces?” Which verse/s in Luke reference Christ doing this to his enemies?

      With regards to your statement regarding Luke 19:27, in which you claim that Jesus SAID he would “execute” his enemies “in front of him,” please re-read chpt. 19 for the context. The statement you are referring to comes from a character in a parable Jesus told. It is easy to mis-represent the statements of ANYONE when they are taken out context.

      Concerning Matt. 18:6, it is misleading to simply state, ““Drown him with a millstone” (Matt 18:6)” without the rest of the verse. WHO is Jesus speaking of “drowning with a millstone?” And why?
      Matt 18: 4-6 states: “Whoever will humble himself therefore and become like this little child, is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. And whoever recieves and accepts and welcomes one little child like for My sake and in My name receives and accepts and welcomes Me. But whoever offends one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for him to have a great millstone tied about his neck and to be sunk into the depths of the sea.”
      point 1) Jesus is referring to those who hurt, wrong, and lead children astray.
      point 2) Jesus never orders anyone to actually DO this. He simply says that a person who does this would be better off to have this done to him. (Note: I wonder what Jesus would think of Jerry Sandusky and the pedophile priests? No doubt they fit this description.)

      Once again, Matt 10: 21 and Matt 10:35 are taken out of context and presented incompletely. No where does Jesus say that he “wants you to live in a house full of enemies or state, – I’M HERE TO RUIN YOUR LIFE AND ALL THAT YOU LOVE.
      What Jesus ACTUALLY said in Matt. 10:18-24,
      “And you will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a witness to bear testimony before them and to the Gentiles. But when they deliver you up, do not be anxious about how or what you are to speak; for what you are to say will be given you in that very hour and moment, For it is not you are speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Brother will deliver up brother to death, and the father his child; and children will take a stand against their parents and will have them put to death. And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake, but he who perseveres and endures to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in one town, flee to another town…A disciple is not above his teacher, nor is a servant above his lord…Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to part asunder a man from his father, and a daughter from her mother, and a newly married wife from her mother in law, and a man’s foes will be they of his own household.”

      In Matt: 10, Jesus was sending out his disciples, giving them instructions, and in the passage above was PREPARING them for the hatred, the rejection, the scorn, the persecution they would face because they were his disciples. He is warning them that even family members will do this to them, will reject them, betray them, etc. He did not tell them he WANTED them to suffer, or promise to “ruin your life and all that you love.” He was telling them how the world and the people who reject Him would respond to them. He was telling them the price they would pay for following Him. He wasn’t some paid recruiter regaling a wide-eyed potential recruits of all the “benefits.” He wasn’t promising them traveling to cool places in foreign lands or learning job skills they could use after they followed him for awhile. Would it have been “nice” for him to withold this information from them? He was honest about the responses and reactions much of the world would have toward his followers.

      And Jesus was right. If you read more than snippets of the New Testament, you learn that the apostles and early believers underwent intense persecution, including imprisonment, beatings, and execution. This happened quite quickly. It has continued for His followers ever since. The Roman emperors found Christians to be a threat to their power and authority and hounded them relentlessly. In Communist countries, practicing Christians were reported to the authorities by family members and friends. And today in the Middle East, Christians are facing brutal and merciless persecution for following Christ, including beheadings, crucifixion, rape, beatings, other forms of execution, confiscation of property, and exile. Jesus is not responsible for the actions of those who beat and decapitate and murder. Those are their choices and actions. Jesus simply predicted it.

      Another misunderstanding you appear to have about Jesus, Max, is this statement you make, “JESUS – STONE THESE PEOPLE TO DEATH:” What verse can you state in which JESUS ORDERS ANYONE STONED?
      Instead, with regards to stoning, read what Jesus not only said, but did on this topic in John 8:3-11
      “When the scribes and Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, they made her stand in the middle of the court and put the case before Him.
      Pharisees: “Teacher, they said, This woman has been caught in the very act of adultery. Now Moses in the Law commanded us that such shall be stoned to death. But what do You say to do with her?”
      This they said to try/test Him, hoping they might find a charge on which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger. However, when they persisted with their questions, he raised Himself up and said,
      Jesus: “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to cast the first stone at her.” Then he bent down and continued writing on the ground with His finger. They listened to Him, and then they began going out, conscience-stricken, one by one, from the oldest down to the last one of them, till Jesus was left alone, with the woman standing there before Him in the center of the court. When Jesus raised himself up, He said to her,
      Jesus: “Woman, where are your accusers? Has no man condemned you?”
      Woman: “No one, Lord!”
      Jesus: “I do not condemn you either. Go on your way and from now on, sin no more.”
      (Note: Scripture never tells us what Jesus wrote on the ground with his finger….but I can’t help but wonder if it was the names of the men who committed adultery with the woman–quite possibly the ones who were accusing her.)

      Max, how do the following examples fit into the paradigm of Jesus and his teachings being hateful, anti-social and unloving?

      Luke 12:33-34
      “Sell what you possess and give donations to the poor…an unfailing and inexhaustible treasure in the heavens, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

      Matthew 5: 43-44
      ” You have heard that it was said, ‘you shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy,’ But I tell you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”

      Luke 11: 42-43, 45-46
      “But woe to you, Pharisees (religious leaders)! For you tithe mint and rue and every herb, but disregard and neglect justice and the love God. Those you ought to have done without leaving the other undone. Woe to you Pharisees! For you love the best seats in the synagogues and love to be greeted and bowed down to in the public markets-places”…One of the experts in the Law answered Him, ‘Teacher, in saying this, You reproach and outrage and affront even us!’ But He said, “Woe to you, the lawyers, also! For you to load men with oppressive burdens hard to bear, and you do not personally touch the burdens with one of your fingers!”
      (It was after this that the religious and political leaders began to plot to kill Jesus).

      Luke 14:13
      “But when you give a banquet or a reception, invite the poor, the disabled, the lame, and the blind.”

      Luke 15:11-32 (The story of the prodigal son)

      John 4: 5-32 (Jesus and the Samaritan woman)
      Note: In Palestine in Jesus’ day, the Jews rejected the Samaritans. They were looked down on, considered less than, despised, etc. Jews did not associate with them. Perhaps comparable to whites and blacks during Jim Crow. Jesus completely violated the social mores of his day, his culture, when he interacted with this woman as he did.

      John 7: 24
      “Be honest in your judgment and do not decide at a glance superficially by appearance; but judge fairly and righteously.”

      John 15: 12-13
      “This is my commandment: that you love one another just as I have loved you. No one has greater love than to lay down his life for his friends.”

      THere are countless more passages that tell of Jesus’ interactions with those people who were outcasts in his time, that tell of him healing the sick, feeding the hungry, rebuking hypocritical leaders, defending the oppressed and so on and so on.

      So, I guess it comes down to how one defines “anti-social?” If calling the outcast, the poor the scorned, the oppressed “your neighbor” and commanding people to love them is anti-social, then Jesus was anti-social.
      If giving up a life of accumulating material possessions and devoting yourself to loving others as Jesus did is anti-social, then I guess Jesus is anti-social.
      If loving your enemies and praying for those who harm you is anti-social, then Jesus is anti-social
      If challenging corrupt, hypocritical leaders who abuse their authority is anti-social, then Jesus is ant-social.
      Can you imagine what Jesus would do today, if He visited Wall Street? Congress? A “give money and you will be rich” mega church? Yeah, I guess when you consider a person like Jesus, preaching a radical message of sacrificial love, forgiveness, grace and mercy, and justice for the oppressed, who challenges the social/political/economic/and religious status quo, then I guess in today’s greedy, materialistic, selfish, hedonistic, legalistic, hard-hearted world, Jesus would most definitely be anti-social. If that’s anti-social, then I would be honored to be considered the same.

      In closing, Max, I urge you, if you would like to know the truth about Jesus, then study ALL of Jesus’ words, not just the snippets here and there taken out of context to support an already existing pre-conception. Jesus said, “Seek and you shall find. Knock and it shall opened unto you.” If you sincerely seek truth, and you don’t care if that truth upends all your paradigms and perceptions of reality, then you will find Truth. And Jesus is that TRUTH with a capital T.

  3. People’s behavior have nothing to do with the religion, itself, if you know what I mean. Even in The Bible days, there were always people who were only Christian by name, you know. That’s one way to look at the whole thing. Your path is yours alone.

        1. I think for some people religion can have a grounding a stabilizing effect. However, I don’t think that this could not have been achieved with appropriate meditation, psychology, and behavioral changes.

          1. As I said in another comment, for me it is a matter of faith. Further, it is a matter of wanting/needing to believe in something bigger. If this is all we are, than to me it is a disappointing ending.

  4. Interesting post! I’ve struggled also with why there are Christians who act nothing like Jesus. I’ve come to the conclusion that there are people who are Christians in name only, that some people have no idea what it really means to be a Christian, and that even for those who are earnestly trying to follow God, they will make mistakes. There are a *few* people who actually get it, as in how to live as God wants them to, but I’d say they’re a very small minority. Just my two cents from having been in a leadership position (and later not) in the church.

    1. I would say you are right but often the most sincere, most religious, most faithful to church and the bible, these are the worst. So it’s hard to just say the bad ones are fake christians. What’s a fake christian?

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