Did I rope you in with the title? I hope so! I heard this statement recently when having lunch with a friend. And it has bothered me for weeks! Thus I am writing about it because we need to address this! By ‘WE’, I mean everyone. Not just Christians, but everyone. Statements like this are what cause hate, anger, lack of self worth, and the list goes on. The ‘you are not my kind of Christian’ attitude has to stop NOW!
You Are Not My Kind of Christian
Let me backtrack here for a minute to give you the story of where this statement came from. It really isn’t about the statement itself but the attitude that leads to the statement. My friend, who is a believer, has struggled with finding a church home, a place where she felt she belonged. This is a true story for so many friends, and has even been true for Cody and I at various points in our lives. My friend had a couple of experiences that made her feel unwelcome. As she put it, “they looked at me like, ‘You are not my kind of Christian.'” She said this several times in our conversation about her various experiences. From a devout Christian coworker who was shocked that my friend listened to Christian music and told her that she just didn’t think she was the type of person who would listen to Christian music, to a new Bible study group who barely interacted with her for two meetings until my friend kindly asked to be moved to a different table. Then another devout Christian friend made an offhand comment to her about church and Bible study. Time and again, as she was telling me these stories, she kept saying, “I just felt like I wasn’t their kind of Christian.”
Are you angry yet? I was!
Churches are full of sinners, we fill them, and we are human, which makes them imperfect places which can lead to heartache. Churches define themselves and set up boundaries. We set up those boundaries. They are our boundaries not God’s! I listened to a sermon once about how we put up fences (aka boundaries) and those fences are rules. Rules we have made such as, if you don’t believe exactly as I do, you can’t cross my fence. If you don’t view communion the same as I do, you can’t cross my fence. You read a differemt version of the Bible than I do, so you can’t cross my fence. If you are not Christian, you can’t cross my fence. The list goes on. We make fences every day like this. You don’t like the same music I do, so you can’t cross my fence. We look different, so you can’t cross my fence. You are a different religion than I am, so you can’t cross my fence. I am guilty of putting up these fences. I have to work to not put up fences. God does not put up fences EVER!
God calls us to him as his children. He calls us to have a relationship with Him. And when we don’t, it is because of our fences. God calls us to be disciples of Christ. He calls us to lead by example. That example is breaking down fences, loving all of God’s children. That example is saying, “You listen to the Christian station too? Awesome, what is one of your favorite bands?” That example is saying, “Welcome, we are so glad to have you join our Bible study group.” That example is listening with an open heart to the needs of those around us. To act in kind and loving ways. To be as Christ-like as we can, regardless of our differences. As I have reflected on this for some time now, I am not angry anymore, but I feel sad for those who made my friend feel this way. I pray that they may find a way to be better disciples of Christ.
You Are a Child of God
We are all children of God. If you don’t believe in God, we are all still human. For me, regardless of your beliefs, I think we need to live in a way that breaks down fences, that fosters tolerance, that creates space for acceptance in our differences, that generates love toward one another. I want my friend to be able to feel accepted instead of feeling like ‘you are not my kind of Christian’. Wouldn’t it be great if she felt she belonged regardless of differences? Wouldn’t we all feel better if that were true? I challenge you to act as a disciple! I am challenging myself and know that I have work to do. Work that I am excited to do to help create a place for all God’s children.
* Thank you for reading this blog which is outside of our norm. This has been pressing on my heart so much that I had to share. Thank you for following us on our journey of home decor and essential oils and my soapbox today!*