Christians are perceived in numerous ways in our society. Whether it’s via the news, entertainment industry, or on social media, it’s easy to see why Christians receive certain reputations, labels, and stereotypes (many deserved). Nobody is more conscience of the public perceptions associated with Christians than Christians themselves, and here are eight things they want the rest of the world to know.
1. We’re Not (All) Crazy
Yes, we may believe in miracles, prayer, and a supernatural God, but we aren’t all anti-science or close-minded. We’re doctors, academics, scientists, mathematicians, educators, and professionals in a wide variety of fields. We value logic, facts, and knowledge. We cringe right along with you when we see dubious televangelist hucksters, judgmental street preachers, apocalyptic prophecies scribbled on cardboard signs, Westboro Baptist picketers, and religious garbage posted on social media.
We desperately want you to know that we’re not all lunatics who spew hyperbolic threats, attack with vitriolic rants, and spread irrational fear.
2. We’re Sorry
For everything. The bigotry, racism, violence, hatred, exclusion, gossip, abuse, corruption, hypocrisy, and a long history of brutal, horrible, and inexcusable mistakes and atrocities.
Even today, we know that people continue to do evil acts under the guise of Christianity. This causes us great pain, embarrassment, and heartache, because Jesus taught us to humbly sacrifice, serve, protect, empower, and ultimately love everyone regardless of circumstances. We apologize for not doing this.
3. We’re Complex
We come from all walks of life. Christianity is a diverse faith that incorporates an infinite number of cultures, ethnicities, races, and lifestyles. There are thousands of denominations inundated with varying traditions, styles, and beliefs throughout the entire world. No two Christians believe exactly the same thing.
Sometimes we argue — a lot — about these differences, and this is why it’s sometimes confusing to identify exactly what Christians believe. Christians can be pro-life, pro-choice, conservative, liberal, rich, poor, criminals, victims, intelligent, ignorant, right, wrong, pacifists, soldiers, young, old, married, single, divorced, gay, or straight.
Despite our countless differences, we’re all connected by our love for Jesus.
4. We Aren’t Well-Represented
Since there’s so much variation within our faith, hardly anyone can fully — or accurately — represents us. No politician, spokesperson, theologian, pastor, media mogul, celebrity, or religious leader can wholly represent what we feel, believe, think, or do.
Additionally, we realize that many people — including Christians themselves — manipulate the faith in order to serve their own selfish agendas. But in the end, Jesus is the only person who can accurately represent Christianity — and we do a poor job of accurately representing him.
5. We Don’t Think We’re Better than Anyone Else
It’s obvious we’re not. We realize that many Christians have condemned, shamed, and judged humanity to an eternal hell, and have fallen prey to pride, exclusivism, and self-righteousness. They’ve put themselves on a pedestal while simultaneously degrading those around them.
Despite this hypocrisy, most of us don’t see ourselves as morally superior or better than anybody. In fact, we’re painfully aware of our immorality, failures, and insufficiencies.
6. We Have More Questions Than Answers
Christians often appear confident and sure of themselves. They’re always explaining and presenting arguments in a way that leaves little room for ambiguity, but in reality our faith is extremely complicated — filled with more questions than answers.
We’re constantly learning and maturing in what we believe — often failing to find satisfactory answers to what we’re looking for. Our faith leaves room for doubt and disagreement. Sometimes we never find resolution, and beyond our love for Jesus, we’re often not 100 percent sure about anything.
7. Christianity Is Hard
Many people think the Christian faith is a crutch, a way to avoid reality and take the easy way out. It’s actually the exact opposite. It’s difficult, disappointing, and full of doubt, trials, and suffering; it demands a lifetime of sacrifice, commitment, and service.
Christianity is demanding. It requires emulating the example of Jesus, a man who gave up his life for the sake of loving others. Sure, there are rewarding moments filled with happiness, joy, and inspiration, but most of the time it’s a less romantic existence filled with commitment, dedication, and work.
8. Jesus Loves You
This is the most important thing we want you to know. Churches may exclude you, faith-based organizations may mistreat love you, businesses may refuse to serve you, and other Christians may hate you, but Jesus passionately loves you — no matter what.
Jesus loves you even if Christians don’t.
Ultimately, Christianity is about Jesus — not Christians. Although we try our best to emulate Jesus, we constantly fail, but please judge our faith based upon Jesus and not our Christian culture — because they aren’t the same thing.
Inevitably, we’ll continue to be polarizing in numerous ways across political, social, and religious platforms, and we’ll still commit bad mistakes, make hurtful remarks, and end up being wrong about many things. But for most Christians, our ultimate desire is introduce people to Jesus, who inspires us to make the world a better place by loving everyone around us to the best of our ability. God help us.