We continue to pray for Houston right now. My church is part of a relief team out there. You can help by donating here.
Did you all see this? The Joel Olsteen backlash got real heated and now people are once again accusing him of being a fake Christian. You can read the narrative yourself from the attached Today Show tweet. But this got me thinking some.
First of all, I don’t know anything about Joel Olsteen. I have never heard him preach. I don’t know what he’s about. I didn’t even know about this mega church he had. As a Christian, was I supposed to know this? Well, I can’t judge so I don’t know if he is a fake or not. And frankly I don’t care.
But here is the thing that does matter. The people are right. They were right to question how someone who is supposed to be a big face in Christianity (well, aside from Jesus I guess) didn’t do the Christian thing. Olsteen didn’t open up the doors to his church until the backlash happened and then he went to say that he wasn’t asked to help initially.
Yeah, that’s some fake Christian stuff.
The same can be said about how some people have been labeling Donald Trump and his followers who proclaim Christianity but don’t do Christian things. And of course even people from the KKK believe in Jesus but they don’t act the way Jesus would.
This whole narrative is troubling and it’s an even bigger role today with our country so divided. Who is a Christian? How can we tell the real and from the fake?
This struck me when I was reading my morning devotional yesterday and Pastor Nicky Gumbel shared this bit from 2 Corinthians.
Through you, people read about Jesus The only Bible some people will read is your life.
Paul writes to the Corinthians, ‘Your very lives are a letter that anyone can read by just looking at you. Christ himself wrote it – not with ink, but with God’s living Spirit; not chiselled into stone, but carved into human lives – and we publish it’ (3:1b-3, MSG).
Not everyone can or will read books – but everyone you encounter can, and will, read your life.
Holy macaroni! That is some truth here!
This is the truth. There are so many people who will never read the Bible or step foot in the church. How else will they know about Jesus? Through real Christians.
Real Christians are the ones who have faces that shine brighter than anyone else because they know Jesus. They are the ones who act and live a life just like Jesus. These are the ones who love people, who give to people, who sacrifice for people, who share the Good News of Jesus to the people without judgment.
Not the fake Christians who promote racism. Not the fake Christians who promote hateful acts. Not the fake Christians who point figures and accuse people for not being like them politically. Not the fake Christians who just don’t love.
This hit me hard because it reminded me of the classic song I grew up with.
Listen to those lyrics. That is what Christianity is. That is what Jesus is all about.
I think back to my upbringing and wondered many times if I didn’t grow up in a Christian household would I ever step foot in a church. The answer would be NO. I would have no interest in it and I would never go. So how in the world would I ever get to know what Christianity is all about? The people. In fact, even though I grew up in a Christian home, I didn’t actually get to know Jesus inside of a church. I met Jesus through a friend outside of a church because that buddy lived a Christian life. I saw Jesus living in him. That’s when I believed.
It’s easy to start pointing out the legalistic ways of Christianity and I have friends who claim to be Christian who hold onto these things more than the actual message of Christ. It happens. And it’s very prevalent now in our crazy 24/7 social media world. Everybody has an opinion and everything that goes viral captures the thoughts of everyday folk
But when it comes to people who are Christian and want to share the Good News of the Gospel, then it starts with ourselves first. How are we living our lives? Does our life reflect Jesus? Is our life a living testimony of God?
For some people who claim to be Christian, their lives actually don’t reflect God. They are the ones who praise Jesus but also mock those who aren’t like them. They are the ones who were not bothered by what happened in Charlottesville. They are the ones who instead of praying and spreading the word of God, they go out and make political posts and shifting blame to places.
It’s not an easy path sometimes everything can get blurred. Good Christians get categorized as fake Christians and the whole image of Christianity is muddled. We don’t know who Jesus is about really and the whole idea of being a good Christian is lost.
But that song and the verse from 2 Corinthians is the truth. That’s how we know. Look at yourself and see if your words, your actions, your life reflect that of a person who is living out what Jesus Christ is all about.
Christians embrace, not mock. Christians include, not separate. Christians give, not take away. Christians care, not blame. And Christians most importantly love, not hate.
It doesn’t take a Christian to do good and treat others well. That part is easy. But Christianity goes so much more deeper than that. The root of all the goodwill is in Jesus. If you see that in a person, then you know they are a good Christian. Because you can’t fake the love of Jesus. We all can see right through that facade.
The truth and root of all our actions is in Jesus. That is the living testimony true Christians have. That is where people who know nothing about Jesus will see Jesus. Anything less ain’t real. It’s fake.
So let’s love. It’s the Christian thing to do. That’s the living testimony I want to live.