I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.
That quote attributed to Ghandi is not new. Unfortunately, it often rings true. We sometimes don’t give off a very good “air” to those who are far from Jesus. To make matters worse, we often try to force our rules and regulations on others as well.
When I was in college, I decided not to play basketball my senior year. I had married over the summer, but that was not the issue because wives were welcome to travel with the team. It would have been my 3rd coach in 4 years, but that was not the issue. The issue was my grades. I had been an average to slightly above average student my first three years. I could not study on the bus due to the motion and concentration issues. So during basketball season, my grades took a dive. But I set a goal to make the Dean’s List one time, which was a 2.3 since our school was on a 3 point system. My average grades were about 1.8 so I had my work cut out for me. I had one class that was dicey- Advanced Biology-taught by a woman who had been there for eons and who wasn’t crazy about giving breaks (showing grace), especially to guys. I worked hard, but science was like Math to me-not a good fit. I needed an 88 for a “B” and the Dean’s List. I got an 87…both semesters. I begged. I pleaded. I offered to do extra work. But to no avail.
GRACE WAS NOT IN HER VOCABULARY. STICKING TO THE RULES WAS.
What I couldn’t figure out was how anyone could refuse a cute face like mine! Probably a good thing I didn’t have a child at the time. I would have used him/her. Seriously, in her mind no teacher worth his/her salt would ever bend the rules and offer grace!
Sounds like a lot of preachers and others who claim to follow Jesus. But in all honesty, I have to question what or who they do follow. Jesus’ harshest words were reserved for the religious leaders. John 8 is a classic example of that. His reaction had to fry their bacon…extra crispy. Fans follow rules; followers follow Jesus. Rules might help define boundaries, but living by a list of do’s and don’ts is not the way of Jesus, or of grace.
Now you know the point of my message for Sunday. Rules or Jesus? I’d appreciate your prayers. And while we are there…do you find yourself a victim of rules and the boxes used to “contain” people? What are you doing to break out?