Loving Your Neighbor –Posting the Backlog of Drafts, pt 2

This is the second installment of “Posting the Backlog of my Drafts.” Because I have like 67 drafts, and that’s not okay, friends. So, everything that can be published is going to be published, with pictures added no less, insecurity be danged.

#ChristianPrivilege is trending right now (A/N: when I wrote this forever ago) on Twitter, and I read some of the tweets.
Yes, I knew it would probably hurt me. I knew better, but I did it anyway.
I won’t deny I’m privileged. I very much am. There are places in the world where being Christian is very, very dangerous, but where I’m from? It’s the norm.
But the tag wasn’t actually about examining privilege, at least, not the tweets I saw. I’m sure a lot of them do, but the ones I want to discuss are about type-casting a whole group who operate under the label. Being a Christian and being a bigot, being angry, or being racist are not the same things.
Look at history. Christians have made a lot of mistakes, and they’ve hurt a lot of people both on accident AND very much on purpose. But that’s not Christianity and it’s not part of their CHRISTIAN identity. A lot of people act like they know what Christianity is based on the worst examples they can find. And it is really, really, harmful, and just as much unfair.
No one of you has ever been unkind about my faith, dear readers, and I hope you haven’t misunderstood me. But I’ve heard it before. There are people who think we’re all close-minded, or cruel, or bigoted, or even stupid, without taking into consideration what is Christianity and what’s just… people.
I won’t judge them. People only know what they know, and they see what they see. But I do hope to clear a few things up, starting here:
I am a Christian. I’m also a sinful human being, but I try my best to be my best, to love everyone, and when I fail, I am given the grace to start again. But, on another note, I believe we should not come down on other people for their faith or lack thereof and, in fact, I find it abhorrent. People should respect and love each other, in spite of our differences.
The selfish part of me needs to ask, is it okay for people to attack my faith, the faith in my Lord and Savior who has never failed me and has gotten me through so many hard times? Is it okay to stereotype Christianity based on the worst of us? The answer is, it’s not.
But the more important part of my reaction stems from this; my relationship with the Lord is precious and sacred to me, and when people think “Christian,” I want them to associate that type of savior-sinner/saint relationship, not all this other stuff.
When people think of Christianity, I want them to think of Jesus and love.
People form opinions based on what they see. Christians, BE THE LOVE YOU WISH TO SEE IN THE WORLD. Non-Christians? Please, look into what Christianity really means. Look into what it’s supposed to be.
We all need to try and be our best selves and be the best examples of our backgrounds. It also isn’t okay to demonize ANY group of people based on the worst examples of their membership. It creates a false narrative that only seeks to drive us apart. Why are we sowing division when we could be sowing love?
My best friend is an agnostic, and I’m a Christian, and we respect each other a lot. He doesn’t think I’m an angry, racist bigot, and I don’t think he’s an uppity, pseudo-intellectual better-than-you. Because we know that the words, the labels, don’t really mean those things, even if some people have stereotyped them that way. Because we know each other.
I know I can be naive, and I know that the world has given lots of examples of people who called themselves Christians and then did very UN-Christian things under that banner. I know it. But people of all faiths have done that. Because that’s just PEOPLE. That society should associate hate with Christianity which, in my mind, associates with Jesus and with God is just heartbreaking.
God is Love. Jesus is Love. I want to share love. My faith comes down to the word, and to forgiveness. I’m so far from perfect, but I do try. Honest, I do. And… I just want everyone to try and love everyone, even when we don’t agree.
Again, I know that people call themselves Christian and do all sorts of terrible, mean things. But I also know that people call themselves Christian and do wonderful, kind, selfless things. I’ve seen so much of it, so much kindness, and THAT’S what Christianity is about. Do you know what Jesus told Christians to do?

28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.a]”>[a] 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’b]”>[b] 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’c]”>[c]There is no commandment greater than these.”

–Mark 12:28-31

REAL Christianity is about LOVE. People who use Christianity as a guise to do wrong are misguided, mislabeled, ignorant, or indoctrinated. I’m learning and growing every day, but I’ve never ever doubted that Love is at the center of everything my faith really stands for.

I just want its association on a large scale to read that way without the public spread of misinformation regarding what my religion IS. I’m frustrated by the people who do bad things and call it Christian, and I’m frustrated by the people who don’t bother to dig any deeper and paint us with a broad stroke.

I don’t want people to look at Christianity through the wrong lense because I want them to see the beauty and forgiveness and grace and promises of Jesus, who wants us all to love each other and help each other.

Christians need to do better at showing that love, it’s true. People of all faiths and backgrounds do, guys. We’re all sinful beings. But if you’re seeing people claim to be Christians and then acting in ways that are anything but, please know that it’s because of PEOPLE. Please, associate that with PEOPLE.

Yeah. So, we’re all people. You and me and your mom and my brother and… all of us. And we all make mistakes. But when you think about Christianity, please know that it means love. And maybe if we all just keep trying to share that love, it will eventually be the first thing that pops into society’s mind when it hears the word. I think that would be beautiful.

Until I write again, God bless you.


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