Are you out as a Christian?
We’re in a weird, weird place in America. We have total freedom of religion, most of the people in our country are nominally Christian – and yet we feel uncomfortable being out as serious in our faith.
There are reasons for that. There’s a public relations campaign going on to cast serious Christians of whatever stripe as ugly, bigoted, ignorant, or all of the above. I mean, I get you. Who wants to be tarred with that mess? Who wants to have to explain the actions of someone you don’t actually agree with? Who wants to be held accountable for some member of the family who was a total doof? It’s not fun.
But if we hide quietly in the corners, then the only Christians that the world will know are ones who put their feet in their mouths. (And let’s not even talk about the intentional way this is being manipulated, it gives me sadness).
If we want our neighbors to think of Christianity as good, we have to be good. We have to be on our A game – and we have to be OUT. We have to be representing. We have to take a little of that flak, and be ready to explain our beliefs in a calm and rational manner.
Social media re-posts won’t do. Memes? No. You have to live it. No yelling, folks.
1 Peter 2:12 Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.
You have to live it, so that when your friends and neighbors hear about “those ugly Christians” they’re challenged by the fact that they know you. And you’re not ugly. In fact, you’re loving. You love the brethren, you love outsiders. Yeah, you have weird rules, but you actually live them out. And if they ask you about those weird rules, you can explain the why. Politely.
1 Peter 3:14 But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, 15 but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; 16 and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.
Probably it’s getting to be lions time again. Okay. Whatever. If so, we’ve fought and won that battle before. How? By standing firm. By identifying ourselves with Jesus, and not letting anyone or anything take us away from Him.
Don’t be afraid for others to know who you are.