It’s Not About Christians

It’s always sad when the Body of Christ drives its members away. I’ve written at length in the past about the state of the American church and how we need to strive to refocus it toward the ideals that Christ taught, spurning the lackadaisical attitudes that have become so common in our culture.

But I want to focus on another perspective, that of the “former Christians”: I understand where people are coming from here. I’ve been there myself — bitter and cynical and tired of the way things are in so many of our churches, among the very people who are supposed to demonstrate a higher calling and a better way of life. And when Christians turn their backs on God and church and begin calling themselves ‘former Christians’, that says one of two things to me — either they were never Christian to begin with, or they have simply allowed the flesh to rule out over the power of Christ to renew and restore, a very easy thing to do, I might add. I hurt for these people because I know what it feels like to be in that place, angry at Christians for being just regular people, for saying they represent a Higher Power but acting like everyone else and for not being different or special.

But it’s not about Christians, and it never has been. It’s always been about Christ, and while it’s extremely easy to focus on the people, that is not where our eyes should be set. I am learning again what it means to set my eyes on things above, what it means to live by the power of God exactly because Christ is my focus and not the people around me. When you focus on people, all you see is failure and shortcomings. When you focus on Christ, all you see if holiness and light and joy and peace. Focusing on people leads to the kind of bitterness and anger that we see so often in people who walk away from church. We see people who should know better and yet who fall into the very behaviors we are called to reject. It is only by focusing personally on Christ that we can find hope again, that we can see other people as Christ sees them, as people in need and worth reaching out to and drawing into the fold. We focus on Christ, and in turn, He grants us His vision to see the world as He sees it, restoring our spirits, restoring our hope, restoring our purpose. By focusing on Christ, we can then reach out to those Christians who have lost their hope and return them to the place that has meaning, restoring them to fellowship with the Body. But it starts with us, it starts with me. I must be focusing on Christ if I ever hope to help another do the same.

2 thoughts on “It’s Not About Christians”

  1. Jim,
    The VERY BEST advice I got when I first learned of my husband’s struggle….during the really dark time of uncertainty and then the 3 years following…was this; “Focus on your OWN relationship with Christ and how HE intends to grow YOU through this trial.” It is the ONLY way to get through a difficult time and remain strong, actually becoming stronger, in the Lord. I can’t take my focus from him for even a second…..or I become prideful in my own accomplishments. But, as I keep my eyes on Christ, I remain humbled by his grace and glory.

  2. Thanks for the comment, grace. A pleasure, as always. I was beginning to think no one was reading anymore. I appreciate your comment. It’s a tough thing, keeping one’s eyes on Christ. People are so much more visible and therefore so much more distracting. I’ve found that whenever I start to become bitter or cynical that it helps to remember it’s not about me or those Christians over there or even those Christians over here — it’s about my God and about Christ.

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