Wednesday, August 29, 2007

How to act when you're around a Christian

If you're a Christian, does it not bother you when people try to be Mr. goody-goody when they're around you but you know full well that they're not? If you aren't a Christian, have you ever felt awkward around Christians because you feel like unless you are on your best behavior then they'll be secretly judging you?

I'm writing this because i'm tired of people not being themselves. A few weeks ago I invited some friends from work to see my band play at a bar (thats right, a bar) downtown. It seemed like they had a good time. The next day one of them called me and apologized for drinking. "What? We were playing at a bar! Why would we care if people drank?" I thought to myself. She explained that she was just trying to respect our beliefs and didn't want to offend us. I wanted to tell her to apologize for calling me to apologize! This sparked something that i've been thinking about for quite some time; why non-Christians feel the need to put on an act when they're around us. And because some might be confused as to why they shouldn't put on an act when they're around us, I have written a list of do's and don'ts:

1. Be yourself. You're not fooling anyone.

2. If you want to drink, then drink. If you want to smoke, then smoke. No one really cares. Seriously.

3. Stop apologizing each and every time you cuss!! "Oh no, Mike.e is in the room! We better watch what we say!" Nothing offends me more when people try to "watch what they say" when they're around me. If you're vocabulary consists of the "f-bomb" every other word, then say it. I could care less. If I were really offended by your vulgar vocabulary, then I wouldn't be hanging out with you. And chances are, all the Christians that you think don't cuss...think again.

4. Don't be afraid to talk about sex. We can handle it. I promise. And I know this may come as a shock, but Christians have sex drives too.

5. Don't ever, ever correct one of your friends when they say something that you think might offend us, especially not right in front of us! Have you ever thought about how that makes us feel?

6. If we really are offended by what you say and do, then we wouldn't be hanging out with you!

7. Seriously, no one is secretly judging you. Get over yourself.

8. Does it really matter if you offend us anyways? If you drink, then you probably drink because you don't think anything is wrong with it. If that's the case, then why not live by your conviction and drink around your Christian buddies? Would we really be going out to a bar with you if we weren't expecting you to be drinking?

9. Let's turn the tables. How would you like it if you're Christian friends did what you did and put on a show when they are around you? Should I take up smoking because I don't want to offend those who smoke? "Oh sorry guys, I forgot that you guys smoke and drink. I don't want to offend anyone by not drinking, so I better order a beer." See how absurd that sounds? We just want to be real and be ourselves. Why can't you do the same for us?

10. Treat us like we're human. We are just like you. I promise.

11. Don't try and quote Scripture or act "religious" just to impress us. It really doesn't do anything.

12. We don't care if you missed church last sunday or every sunday for the past 7 years. If you want to go to church, go to church. If you don't want to, then don't. Either way, your attendance doesn't impress us. What we really care about is whether or not you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.

13. This one is for the girls. Dress how you want to dress. Don't wear a turtle neck just because you're around us. Plus, we've all seen your myspace pictures anyways. In other words, we already know how you dress. So stop trying to fool us and wear whatever you want. If we were really offended by what you wore, then we wouldn't hang out with you.

14. Don't try to fool us by leaving your radio on the Christian station. Chances are, the Christians that you are around are more offended by the Christian station than they are by the secular stations. Listen to whatever you want.

15. Don't brag about how you grew up going to a Christian school. You're not impressing anyone. Also, the fact that you're uncle's sister-in-law's cousin is a pastor doesn't really matter either. If its relevant to the conversation, then cool. If not, then drop it.

16. Don't hide your movie collection when we come over. We watch the same movies that you do. We're human, remember?

17. Don't ever, ever, ever say, "Oh sorry, I forgot you guys are Christians."

Hopefully this list will give you a glimpse into the mind of a Christian. If you want to add to this list, i'd love to hear your thoughts, and even your disagreements if you have any.


Anonymous said...

I'm not sure I agree with some of your statements. You wrote, "Treat us like we're human. We are just like you. I promise." Are Christians just like non-Christians. As a Christian, am I "just like" who I used to be? Does the imputed righteousness of Christ have no effect on our soul? Do we not hate what we used to love and love what we once hated? Are we not seeking to be holy as He is holy and pursuing lasting satisfaction by seeing and savoring all that God is for us in Christ? No, we are not who we were...we are not who we are...we are who we are becoming...we are who we will be when Christ returns in the fullness of His deity to bring to Himself those who are His own; namely, all who have repented and put their trust in His life-giving promises, immutable plans, and sovereign power to save those who cannot save themselves.

As for me, I have no problem if someone puts on an act when they are around me. Just know that God is never fooled by folly. Though the act may receive the approval of those around you, it will only serve to further dishonor the God whose wrath you rightly deserve for having sinned against Him. Your best "act" is filth if not done for His glory. He doesn't need our acceptance, we need His. My plea for anyone who thinks they can "act" their way to Heaven is to humble yourself lest you work your way to Hell.

I'm not advocating a works based salvation...I despise all forms of legalism! My prayer and hope for myself as well as others is that we humbly pursue Christ, seeking to become practically what we already are positionally in Christ. God gets the glory and we get the joy!!!

Mike-e said...

hey Brad, thanks for your comments. However, I think you might have missed the context of the issue you referred to. "Treating us like we're human" is the context. In other words, I want non-Christians to see us as fellow members of the human race. We all have families, lives, fears, issues, and doubts. In other words, I don't want them to look at us like we're aliens. Does that make sense? This blog is rather sarcastic, so i see how this might have been confusing.

But I agree with what you said for the most part. Its an issue that I really need to think through some more.

Anonymous said...

Yeah man, I got a little carried away on my response. Just ask my friends and they will tell you that I've been known to do that from time to time :)

I totally agree that Christians struggle with a lot of the same temptations and trials as non-Christians. For years I fooled Christians and non-Christians into believing that I had everything together. I join you in saying that it is time that Christians start being honest and acknowledge that while we are seeking to become holy (and we are positionally in Christ), we are not yet practically what we will be one day. It is a constant battle and one we can't win on our own strength!

My plea for my brothers and sisters in Christ is that they remember that God is working all things together for good, for those who love Him. Be encouraged and seek to become holy as He is holy.

My plea for non-Christians is that they stop trying to "get things right" in their life and start trusting in the power of the risen Christ to grant them grace to be progressively sanctified and endure until the end.

Soli Deo Gloria!

Rebekah said...

I agree with 11, 12, and 15. I hate it when people tell me they don't go to church or that they do go. I hate church, that it religions. God is not is religions. The people are His church. In fact, I'm happy that people don't go to church. They are less indoctrinated.

The other ones, I think it's nice when they try to tone down their speech for me. The same way that I would have toned down my speech in front of my grandparents. That isn't hypocritical, but just respectful to people.

About movies. I'd have to say that I'm not much into movies that are violent, demonic, magical/mystical, or sexual. I used to be. But I would NOT want a person to put their movies away for me. Honestly, I think it isn't a good idea to be entertaned by it.

When I'm around people who aren't christians, which is almost always, I will see their bad sides. I'm fine, and even glad, with that and will do my best to be Jesus for them. That's the only way they're going to see him in action, is through christians.

Alive in Christ! said...

Hey guys. My name is Austin and I'm friends with Brad. I read the blog and had something to say. I understand your main point Mike.e, but feel that you may have taken it a little too far. When you said that we are just alike, that needs to be worded differently because that flies in the face of God's life-changing work of salvation in our hearts. When you said we watch the same movies and look at their myspace pages, that is not true for me and most saints who now hate the sin they once enjoyed. Why would we watch the same movies sinners did if our hearts have been regenerated and our minds renewed? Ok, so I understand that some people "clean up" their act around us....that is fine with me. If they say something to us like, "I'm sorry for cussing" than I say, "I'm not the Judge"...This shows that there is a Judge, but its not me. This is true. But why tell girls to wear what they want to wear around us if it just might cause us to stumble? Also.....if we are around sinners a lot, then they will hear us preach the gospel to them a lot. Christians share the Gospel and because of this Jesus says that we will be hated by all for His Name's sake. They will not enjoy being around us much after that or they'll get saved. What I mean is....the Word of God is the double-edged sword and its piercing them will not feel too comfortable at first. So this seems a little irrelevant. If you are around sinners all the time and do not share the gospel with them at every chance, what kinda friendship is that?! If they put on a front around you, they still hear the Word and will either hate you for it or get saved and love you for it. Praise God that He has put us around sinners who are just like we were (deceived by the Devil)and that He has given us the tool to open their eyes (the Word of God). Lets speak His magnificent Word to them and see the results. Hey how God has given you a heart for the JWs.

Grace and peace from the Father,