Some Days I’m Not a Christian

Some days I’m not a Christian.
Go figure. Beats me how it happens, too.
In my understanding, I’ve been a Christian every minute of every day since I decided to follow Jesus in early childhood.
I believe this is God’s understanding of my situation as well.
Try explaining that to other people.
One night, I was standing in the airport waiting to pick up a friend when I was approached by a smiling young woman with shiny hair.
“Hello!” she said. “Would you be interested in hearing about Jesus?”
I smiled back at her. “I’m happy to talk about Jesus. I’m a Christian.”
“Yes,” she answered, with that same bright smile, “many people think they are Christians but they don’t really know Jesus.”
I have to imagine my smile faded just a little.
“That’s true,” I replied, “but I really do know Jesus.”
“Oh,” she still smiled but she shook her head at me, “going to church doesn’t make someone a Christian.”
“I know that. But I really am a Christian. I really do know Jesus.” Now, I’m sure my face registered something less than a smile.
“Ah-hanh,” she nodded, “but if you’ll just sit down, I’ll explain how you can have eternal life.”
“I already have eternal life,” I answered.
“No,” she frowned and shook her head. “You don’t.”
For a moment I weighed the pros and cons of getting into a “yes, I do,” “no, I don’t” debate over the state of my soul
but eventually, I chose to distract her by pointing in the opposite direction while I escaped.
Growing up, I attended a church that today would be defined as “main stream.” It was big on Jesus’ love but short on solid Bible teaching.
From the time I could read, I read God’s word. I believed what I found there and prayed to find other people who felt as strongly about the Bible and Jesus as I did.
When I arrived at Christian college, I was so excited –
until I learned I wasn’t really a Christian.
I have powerful memories from the first semester of my rough landing among the people I’d prayed to know – people who were as passionate about God’s word as I was.
They were a brutal people
and highly skeptical of the state of my soul.
Along with the courses in which I was enrolled, I put myself on a crash course in learning “the right answers to prove I’m a Christian.”
I had to homeschool myself in this because compassionate tutors were apparently not available in those parts.
Why do we do this to one another?
Just because we’re the children of God doesn’t mean we should act childish.
I hate the game – “I’m more Christian than you are and maybe you’re not even not.”
And furthermore, it’s not Biblical.
Jesus told a parable about the kingdom of God.
He compared it to a man who planted a field but while his workers were sleeping, his enemy planted weeds among the good seed.
When the seed grew, the weeds grew up as well.
The man’s workers asked if they should tear up the weeds but the man said,
“‘No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.’” (Matthew 13)
In other words, “Back off. Sorting through this mess is my job and I’ll handle it when it’s time.”
It’s good to be zealous for sharing the truth of Jesus with others. It’s good to want to encourage others to go deeper with Jesus.
Coming up with a salvation test, though, isn’t our job
and, in fact, it does damage to the work were attempting to do in Jesus’ name.
Imagine an untrained hack with a jackknife trying to perform heart surgery. Even if the patient truly needs the surgery, the hack could do irreparable harm.
I try to tread carefully on this ground.
If I met my college freshman self now, I’d be tempted to think she wasn’t a “real” Christian
but I know she was
and will continue to be
by the grace of Jesus Christ.
I’m a Christian every day but depending on the present company, that can be brought  into question –
fortunately, Jesus is always there
testifying on my behalf.
Whew.


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6 Comments

    The Conversation

  1. I’m seeing a lot of this these days. AND I hear lots of justification for judging each others spiritual fruit. “Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls.” Is everyone who says so a Christian? Doubt it. Am I (or YOU) the arbiter of who is or not? Yeah, no.

  2. Rejoicing with you at your conclusion. Whew!

  3. Pam Manners says:

    Wow. Sad for the young lady who approached you. She sounded almost cultish in her delivery. My own personal thought, Lori, is you really should establish a sincere relationship or friendship with someone first. Just going up to random people to ‘share’ Jesus…I don’t know. It’s like trying to sell someone a product. Marketing Jesus just doesn’t sit well with me.

    Things like handing out tracts kind of creeps me out anymore,too, because (and again, this is just my take on it)it’s like ‘Ok, I did my Christian ‘duty’ by handing this guy or gal a tract and telling them that Jesus loves you. When people have done that to me, I felt like I was one of their projects for the day. I don’t believe we should never make people feel that way.

    As always, this was an excellent post. You always make me think and take a look at and within myself. Thank you for that, Lori.

  4. Pam Manners says:

    Oops…in a hurry, no proofreading of my comment until after it posted. I meant to say

    “I don’t believe we should EVER make people feel that way.”

  5. Anonymous says:

    I’m a Christian who believes it’s all right for a Christian to say “no” to some requests from other Christians and to say “yes” to non-Christians who want to be friends! I believe that’s my God-given right to choose. And if I’m judged by my peers in the church to be “not quite Christian”, that’s OK. If I never make friends with a non-Christian, how can I witness to him/her? Christ spend much time with non-believers, showing them love, not criticism. If we could see the heart of another person, we’d know whether or not he/she’s a Christian. Instead we see their actions or choices and we judge by what we see. Thank God, literally, that He sees our heart. Be the kind of Christian God has called you to be and ignore what the world thinks.
    His Grace is sufficient for you. You don’t need the approval of others to know He’ll judge you by your heart. MOMMA