3 Words That Should Describe Christians

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I recently ran a survey asking people for raw, unedited and real answers as to why they don’t go to church. Partially out of curiosity, but I also wanted to know what we, as Christians, were doing that dissuaded them from following Jesus. I was humbled by the generous amounts of honest answers, but I was also appalled at how unbelievers would describe the church and those of us who claim to be Christians.

“Churches prevent people from truly loving others.”

“Because I can’t find a church where my girlfriend and I are accepted.”

“As a mom and wife, I looked for another church yet really struggle with the feeling of friendliness.”

“Don’t feel apart of 95% of churches that I go to. Churches are supposed to be familes right? So why do people in churches tear each other apart…”

Not that we are called to be people pleasers. Certainly some things the bible calls us to do will rub the world the wrong way. But when you look at Scripture, is this how the Church should be described? No. It’s the exact opposite. There are 3 words that Christians and the Church should be known by. Unfortunately, I’m afraid we are known by the opposite.

1.) Loving

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35

Love is central to following Jesus. It’s the first thing we learn in Sunday school or church. To love God and love people. Love should be our motive for all that we do. Christians should look different because of their love. People should see the Church and see love like they have never seen.

Our love should point people back to Jesus and show that He is who we belong to. 1 Corinthians describes someone who is more concerned with their “Christian duty” but doesn’t have love is like a clanging symbol. Does your love point people back to Jesus? Are you known by your love?

2.) United

Look at the following prayer as Jesus prayed for his disciples as well as you and me.

“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me” -John 17:20-23

It makes sense that a respondent to my survey would list division in the church as a reason for them to not attend. The Church should have more than sound arguments and good evangelism tactics to reach the lost. Why would Jesus pray for unity amongst believers and take it so seriously? “So that the world may believe that you have sent me and loved them even as you loved me”.

The world should be convinced by our unity as believers. But far too often our unity is hidden behind closed doors. The only church relationship that unbelievers see is the negative arguing or divisions in the media. Are people drawn to you and your church by the unity amongst you?

3.) Hopeful

“Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for evil.” -1 Peter 3:13-16

I wrote more in depth on this in my last post. But Peter assumed that we would have an undeniable hope during the midst of tragedy, that unbelievers would be forced to ask whats going on. We should radiate an eternal hope that people have never seen before. But we are too busy complaining anytime we experience any unjust suffering. When is the last time someone asked you “for a reason for the hope that is in you”?

Would somebody describe you with these 3 words? Lets pray that we can learn to radiate love, unity and hope so that the world will know that we are his disciples, know that God sent his Son and offers His love, and ask us for a reason for the hope that is in us.

-Daniel Wilde

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6 thoughts on “3 Words That Should Describe Christians

  1. Nino

    I’m speechless… I’m aghsat… I’m trying to find the rest of the series! Somehow.. the voice reminds me of Wally Cox or Marlon Brando… in their less convincing years. And you’re right that this film is probably the best suited to the Mystery Science Theater type of treatment.

    Reply
  2. Anonymous

    Daniel, I think this post is great! I was wondering what you would think about this situation…
    I am a Christian and have been for many years, I have been recently planning a gap year and while I was researching it my friend saw what I was doing and said how she wanted to do a gap year as well. I want to go on a mission gap year and she said my one looked very interesting and she would love to do it. She isn’t a Christian but she says she wants to go to church more and find out more about God, this is wonderful, but she told me that she is only doing it for a reference from her minister to go on the gap year. I am not sure how to approach this, I don’t want to mess up something that God may be doing but then I don’t want her to be doing the wrong thing. I just wondered what your thoughts would be about this? Jenny

    Reply
  3. Ben Lamphere

    Thanks for the response Daniel. I still don’t think we are on the same page though and hopefully I can try to communicate my thoughts a little more clearly.

    To make sure I understand your points I summarized them below:

    1. Survey results of unbelievers show that they are dissuaded from church because of the lack of love, unity, and hope
    2. Scripture tell us that Christians should be known by their love, hope, and unity which is the opposite of what unbelievers are saying
    3. Based on the unbelievers responses to the survey Christians need to make sure to radiate love, unity and hope so they (unbelievers or world) will know God.

    Here is what I feel is wrong about this:

    1. Gives the impression that unbelievers and Christians define love in the same way.

    Unbelievers and Christians have different definitions of love, unity, and hope so we, as Christians, shouldn’t be surprised if an unbeliever thinks the Church makes them feel unloved or unaccepted. A better suggestion to determine if a Christian or a Church is following Scripture as God attends is to ask other Churches or Christians. Not an unbeliever.

    2. Uses Scripture that doesn’t provide a clear definition of love which allows people to input their own definition.

    John13:34-35 tells us “who” to love (one another) but does not clearly tell us “how” to love.

    Here are a few verses in the Bible where God tells us “how” to love:

    Corinthians 13:4-7 “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

    John 15:10 “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love”.

    3. Gives a false impression that Churches or Christians need to change how they radiate love, unity, and hope.

    You said, “Unfortunately, I’m afraid we are known by the opposite”. This makes me think you are implying that Christians and Churches are not radiating love, unity, and hope in the way in which God’s Word tells us too. The mistake I feel you are making is that you are comparing a Churches love, unity, and hope against what an unbeliever thinks it should be; not with what God’s Word tells us it should be. That is why I said, “By no means does this mean a Christian should look to an unbeliever on how to preach the Gospel though; they should look to God’s Word in the Bible”.

    I hope this was more clear but if you have any questions please let me know.

    thanks,

    Ben L.

    Reply
  4. Ben Lamphere

    I think you have to be very careful when an unbeliever describes Christianity (or the Church) in a negative way. This actually shouldn’t be a surprise at all. Christians and unbelievers hold different views. An unbeliever looks to the world for their answers; a Christian will look to God’s Word in scriptures.
    Unbelievers will never understand the good news until they understand the bad news (their sin). I would want to know “why” unbelievers feel the Church prevents people from truly loving others, or why they do not feel accepted. I am assuming here but most likely they do not like being told they are doing something wrong (their sin). This makes them feel unloved, or unaccepted. By no means does this mean a Christian should look to an unbeliever on how to preach the Gospel though; they should look to God’s Word in the Bible.
    Christian’s and unbelievers will define love differently. Can you explain in more detail how a Christian should love and why some Churches are now known by the opposite of this?
    Jesus says in Luke 12:51, “Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division.” Christians are not meant to be united with everyone. You have to make a choice between righteousness and lawlessness. The unity that Jesus is referring to is the unity of righteousness. Yes, to the world the unity of believers will seem hidden behind closed doors, but that is because they are unwilling to turn from their sinful ways.
    You have to be very careful because the world will try to make a Christian think they are being unloving, creating division, or are not tolerant. God lays out specific instructions of how to act in all situations; we shouldn’t look to unbelievers (or the world) for this.
    Ephesians 6:11 “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.”

    Reply
    1. danielwildeblog

      Ben,

      Thanks so much for the comment and thought put behind it. I agree with you and think we are on the exact same page. I am NOT suggesting that we take our theology or how to preach the Gospel from unbelievers. I agree, we need to take these things solely from God’s Word.

      What I was trying to convey is that God clearly says that the world will know of Him because of these things (our hope, our love, our unity). As it states in the passages I listed above. It was interesting how the respondents’ answers for NOT going to church where the exact opposite of why they should be drawn to the church.

      By no means did I create these 3 points from their responses, but rather straight from Scripture and used their responses to give real examples.

      Thanks for the read,

      -Daniel

      Reply

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