I am happy to call myself a follower of God and of Jesus. But at times, I don’t want to call myself a Christian, because there are so many negative associations with being a Christian. Below is a portion of an article that lists five of them. After I read it, I was reminded that I have control over my behavior and if I do or don’t do the things listed I contribute to the negative image of a Christian – Jesus, help me be authentic and live with integrity.
Listening to the Formerly Unchurched by Thom Rainer – LifeWay
My team did some interviews with the formerly unchurched. These were men and women who had been Christians less than a year. They were able to give us some keen insights about their lives as unchurched, non-Christians, especially since those days were in the recent past.
One of the more fascinating times in our interviews took place when we asked them what they didn’t like about Christians. We asked them to specify issues, attitudes, actions, and words that turned them away from the church and the gospel.
They gave us an ear full.
Though the responses varied in their specific wording, we were able to group the negatives into five major categories. So what it is that the unchurched don’t like about Christians? Some of the responses hit too close to home for my comfort.
I don’t like Christians who treat other Christians poorly. The unchurched don’t expect us Christians to be perfect, but they can’t understand why we treat each other without dignity and respect. “I thought Christians were supposed to love one another,” Sandy from Pennsylvania told us. “But the more I observed Christians, the more I thought they really didn’t like each other.”
I don’t like “holier-than-thou” attitudes. The unchurched know that Christians will make mistakes, and they often have a forgiving attitude when we mess up. But they are repulsed when Christians act in superior ways to them “It would help,” said Bailey of Tampa, “if Christians showed just a little humility.”
I don’t like Christians who talk more than they listen. Many of the unchurched, at some point, have a perception that a Christian is a person who can offer a sympathetic and compassionate ear. Unfortunately, many of the unchurched thought Christians were too busy talking to listen to them.
I don’t like Christians who won’t get involved in my life. One of the many surprises of our study was discovering how much many unchurched persons would like to have a Christian as a friend. Yet very few Christians are willing to invest their lives in the messy world that evangelism requires.
I don’t like Christians who don’t go to church. The unchurched saw the disconnect between belief and practice in the lives of Christians who did not or who rarely attended church. “You would think that Christians would want to have the time together to worship and study,” noted Frances. “But I am amazed how many Christians just are not committed to any church.” I have learned much from the world of the unchurched. And I know I still have much yet to learn. – Thom Rainer, Full article here