If Christianity were to ever have a motto, it should be:
“Christians: because we know we’re broken”
After all, that’s where we state salvation begins, right? The basis of Christianity is our acknowledgement of our brokenness, or lostness, that results in an acceptance of a grace that only can be offered through Christ.
Here’s where it sometimes goes wrong:
When we begin thinking that our hope of eternal life, rather than simply ceasing to exist upon death, somehow causes us to be perfect. We will never be any less broken, regardless of our progression in the faith.
Professing our faith in a holy being that loves us and offers countless new beginnings despite our seemingly unending failures should cause us to be the most caring, gracious, liberal in love, and open-minded people to ever exist… right?
Then… why do we often see the opposite?
Jesus generally bypassed the religious organization and went straight to the people. He loved them and was associated with them so closely that he was often referred to as engaging in all of the ungodly activities they did. Why? Wasn’t he worried about appearance? Not really, no. He did it because he loved those people. He didn’t see them as projects by which to gain numbers or attendance… he loved them, he loved being around them.
There is nothing in scripture that allows us to alienate people. There are some verses on religious organization and how to deal with those who cause division… but not to justify a condescending attitude toward any person. Even if there are, then the writers simply got it wrong (I fully believe any of the New Testament writers would laugh at the thought of their writings being inerrant). The example of Jesus was to love others “as is,” not for what they once were or for what they could become.
Christians must realize that no matter the depth of our knowledge, no matter the length of our seeking… we still have a broken view of everything. When Christianity ceases to become an acknowledgement of our, and everyone else’s, continual brokenness and perpetual need for redemption… when it becomes a method by which those claiming Christianity become exclusive and condescending… when we forget that we, along with everyone else, live in a broken world, and see the world through the distorted lens of that brokenness… then it becomes something that is not itself.
Something that is certainly not Christianity.
You will never attain perfection, no matter what your church or denomination may tell you. Neither will anyone else… just ask Paul (Romans 7:7-25).
So, lighten up a little and love people.