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Looking like Him

“What I know about Christianity is that we bear no prejudice and everybody is welcome.” These words were spoken recently by a popular entertainer. She was calling out a politician who also professes to be a disciple and said he was “the worst representation of what it means to be a Christian.” A major news site ran an opinion piece asking, “What type of Christian are you” and concluded that “Christianity’s future looks more like” the entertainer than the politician.

And I was really hoping it would look like Jesus.

It seems as if the most prominent, all-encompassing value in our culture is the idea, “I have the right to do anything.” Under this rubric, we are gods who define what is moral (anything) and immoral (thinking something isn’t moral). Anyone not in step with this is viewed with suspicion and disdain. They are cultural Neanderthals, inveterate buffoons, and last but not least, haters. Given this, it’s not surprising that most exchanges generate more heat than light.

Neither should it come as a surprise when Christ is appropriated in support of non-Christian values. Down through the centuries He’s been called in to support the Crusades, the Inquisition, slavery, segregation and much, much more. Truth be told, there is almost always a glaring difference between the Jesus of any given generation and the Christ of the Word. The Jesus of any generation looks amazingly like we do while the Christ of Scripture does not.

To this point, Jesus did accept all people if we understand that to mean He loved them wherever they were. But loving all people is not to be equated with sanctioning all lifestyles. Jesus loved Zacchaeus but He did not love his lifestyle and called him out of it (Luke 19:1-10). The same could be said in regard to the woman brought before Jesus and accused of adultery (John 8:1-11). Or anyone else. Anyone going an inch deep in Scripture will see this. And therein lies part of the problem.

Truth sounds like hate to those who hate the truth. There’s no way around that and neither should there be. Christ confronts all of us with our sin and we have the choice of listening or leaving. That involves more for some than for others, but no one is exempt. Everyone is called to carry their cross and a piece of jewelry around the neck doesn’t figure into that one way or the other.

The other part of the problem is that those who follow Christ often have a way to go in loving people who are unlike them. Jesus wasn’t friendly to sinners—He was “the friend” of sinners. He had an unqualified commitment to people that led all the way to the cross. That must be our guiding star. Then we won’t be talking about Christianity looking like celebrities or politicians.

It will look like Him.

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