WHAT IS IT about Christians that they think they can treat other believers with contempt, but not be held responsible for their own bad behaviour? Are we really meant to be all sweetness and angelic niceness towards those who abuse us?
Recently I lost my temper. It was not pretty. I was very angry with a guy, a Christian, who had, for the past twelve months, promised to do a job for me but who had no intention of doing it. When I decided to do the task myself, and was thoroughly enjoying myself, he was not happy. And I reacted, badly. His response was to tell me I was not a good Christian and that I was just having a bad day. I was not amused.
I wasn’t happy with my reaction to this guy. Although I wanted to respond appropriately – nicely – I also want to be real in how I relate to others. As I talked with God about the incident and how it was the authenticity of Jesus in his humanity that drew me to himself, I told him how my reality was not like his, my reality is not pretty. It is not neat or attractive, not like his. It is ugly. I was surprised and encouraged by his response:
“Not so, Irene. Do you think it was pretty when I raged against the tax collectors, the money changers in the temple, the Pharisees—those white sepulchred beings who destroyed my people with their religious lies and false teachings? There was nothing pretty about that. Being real is often not pretty.”
That is so true. I baulk at being with church people who are all niceness, but who are not genuine. I long to be with fellow believers who are not afraid to acknowledge they’re finding life tough and who, by conceding that, are authentic in their walk with God.
God’s call to me is to be real, that I must be real so that those around me can see Christ in me—despite my failings. Jesus related to those around him with love and compassion, kindness and care and, at times, very assertively and forthrightly. I have much to learn about living authentically for him.