I attend church each Saturday evening. I ingratiate myself each morning in His word. I pray regularly and even keep a prayer journal. Tithing? Done, at my 10%. I believe that Jesus Christ is my Lord and savior and he died for my sins and for that belief I have sought salvation.
For some, this basic attestation would be the epitome of a good Christian. Believing in His word, carrying on in our godliness, acting upon some righteousness. But truth be told this is just bullshit. Being a good Christian and acting like a good Christian are two entirely different state of affairs.
For the last 18 months I have found a great deal of insight into the truth of Christianity. At the forefront and the most humbling of qualities for a true, “good” Christian is the admittance that we are broken. Our core of humanity is our faults, our errs, our inability for perfection and that we are truly sinners. I have watched so many glorify their existence as a follower of Christ only to contradict their very faith and being. Going to church, believing, praying, tithing are not the only determinants for “good” Christian values.
As I bounced between loving and understanding Jewish faith, Islamic faith, Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity and even Agnosticism, the experiences brought me an insurmountable amount of respect and love for people, no matter their faith. The acceptance and understanding we are one. This path of enlightenment and higher learning led me back to Him. While my beliefs did not mean I was not worthy, nor did they deem me ineligible for salvation, but they were a road map to what Christians should represent, we are all human beings. Being one with each other. Review the historical lineage to understand that each of us has been given a divine plan in our depreciation:
Christ was born unto a teenage girl (teen mom, nothing lavish or righteous here. Divine plan) and was poor; the family was not wealthy monetarily nor was he extravagant or boasting. If we date back farther into Christ’s past we see Rahab. Rahab who was a prostitute, while she played an intricate role with Joshua in the battle of Jericho (Again, nothing lavish, nothing to brag about. Divine plan), ultimately she was a sinner, broken, and imperfect. Her imperfection is within the lineage of Christ.
So I struggle with “Christians” who bark about living a godly life and attest that we should all be “good” by their standards, detesting others for their imperfection; when really the only standards we should be living to are in some sense biblical. Let me clarify that when I say we live to biblical standards, we are not literally living to the exact verbiage, with some exception. In my path of learning I have found a great deal of interpretation with the Bible. If we lived to biblical terms we would be burning and offering our children, sheep, to the Lord and living much more humbly if we were literal. Living by the ten commandments however should be literal, they are basic and set an amazing foundation.
I found that at the core, of any belief, we are to love and respect our God. The Father of life, he has given us wonderful blessings and abilities, magical, supernatural and sometimes indescribable moments of beauty. Through the horrors and pain is the simple beauty of hope. Hope is the magical essence of all humanity. To the end we always have hope. Good Christians should represent hope. Jesus had a whole lot of love and hope for people. He had hope for the Pharisees, the Philistines, the tax collectors, the Romans. His hope was his goodness and love for all man, which led to his priceless sacrifice.
Sacrifice, or denying oneself should be a “good” Christian trait that many do not posses. Recently I attended a 24/7 prayer event with my church. Truly moving. I was not certain what to expect other than I enrolled for two hours of prayer, one hour on two separate days; happily denying myself two hours in the week. During this time I wanted to become better at my prayer to honor my Father, to have a stronger bond and deepen my faith. My first day for my first hour was the most powerful. I was to pray for those who have wronged me in my life.
I was also to make a list.
I sat back and thought long and hard of who I was to put on the list. Surprisingly my list was shorter than expected, maybe a handful of people. So I began to pray for them. I prayed for myself in this prayer as well to ask for my forgiveness that had I hand in the maltreatment I would be granted forgiveness and wisdom. Tears burned through my eyes, my jaw clenched as I tried to fight back the tears and I felt a tremendous weight upon my chest. In my quiet I wailed, I exposed my heart and my pain and the brokenness of all of us. My hour brought such understanding to how we as people as a whole should love one another, to accept one another with our faults, our pain, our hurt.
“Getting good with people means getting good with God” (Cal Jernigan). Something truly powerful exists in the acceptance of all people, we don’t have to understand them and in most cases we won’t; but basic acceptance and love for people in their brokenness can bring about peace. Albeit an inner peace, maybe a small step towards peace at large, and above all hope.
Moreover my sacrifice to deny myself was an acknowledgment that this was NOT about me, life is not about me. Life is about loving God and doing his will. I think Christians lose sight of this fact, they become so engrossed that it is about them and what they are doing, how they will be rewarded. They lose perspective that their movement is about what God is doing through you and with you that should be the focus.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. (Phil 4:8)
God is not hellfire and brimstone, God is a father, a disciplinarian, a lover, a teacher, guiding us in equality, righteousness and love.
Being a good Christian is truly a holistic action. We are broken, always broken, always sinners. By taking that first step to admit this fact and then following in behind the word of God we can work towards our salvation. By loving all people we can make strides towards being a good Christian. Making sacrifices by denying ourselves for the Kingdom is a true Christian. Acts of kindness, love, selflessness, never abasing others or boasting of our works.
Admittedly I am not a good Christian to the societal standards. I am broken, a sinner. I live a humble life. I am benevolent to the point where my philanthropic heart is richer than my coin purse. I do not pretend to be perfect or righteous and I pray each day for guidance and wisdom. I pray one day that the stigma of being a Christian is eliminated from our world. One day may we end acting like good Christians and starting being Christian, being like Christ, denying ourselves and picking up our cross to follow him. If we could admit its okay to err, our life is okay to be in need of spiritual growth and healing despite “finding God” only in our desperation. If we could admit that its okay to be who we are, no matter our color, race, creed, religion, beliefs, without retribution or vengeance that maybe we all could embrace a bit of the ideal of a true good Christian, a fundamental basis of God and all people in the state of human being.