Not judging a book by its cover has never been so important when it comes to Christianity. Today’s society has become so engulfed by stereotyping based on aesthetic appearance that we forget not to judge based on what we see.
You know what they say about assuming — don’t do it. They say other things too; but bottom line is that we should not cultivate false knowledge of people whom we have never spoken to. The “everyday Christian” used to resemble something like a modestly-dressed person with no piercings or tattoos, and absolutely no rainbow-colored hair. No gages, no smoking, no alcohol, and no heavy eyeliner would be within a 100-yard radius of these Christians. However, as society constantly reinvents the image of an “average American,” it also reinvents the image of an “average Christian.”
According to an article posted on October 24 2014, by Mick Mooney on the Huffington Post Blog, “as much as we love Jesus, I think until we allow our own reputation to become as trampled and dirty in the eyes of the religious as he allowed his to become, we’ll never quite understand him, nor his message. Until we break free from the prison of maintaining a religiously acceptable reputation, we will continue to read about the wild Jesus in Scripture, but we’ll struggle to truly understand him, and the way of life he exemplified.”
“Picture perfect” does not describe today’s disciples, and actually, neither does it describe the people Jesus spent his time with. Christians are Christians by how they live their lives, not how they look. However, as far as actions go, knowing “right” from “wrong” is not always the easiest to see in the midst of the grey areas of life.
“Moral laws are easy for young people,” said Breakaway Ministries’ Ben Stuart. “Seldom do young people come to me with moral questions, such as, ‘Can I sleep with my boyfriend/girlfriend?’ Because they know that is not O.K.”
Stuart explained that confusion usually comes from questions of wisdom, such as “Can I stay the night at my boyfriend/girlfriend’s?”
See the greyness setting in? As Stuart explained, Christian credibility today is not based so much on aesthetic appearances but instead our actions. With this, we open a whole new can of worms, as we must now be able to recognize the line within the dreaded grey area and not let it affect how we are living.
Stuart asked, “If you’re sitting at a bar with friends drinking a little too much, are you becoming more like them or influencing them?”
This question poses yet another question of, “How can I get with the non-believing people without extending myself into compromising positions?”
Well, that all comes back to wisdom — knowing what is “right” and what is “wrong.” It comes back to being capable of distinguishing what is and is not acceptable when living a Christian lifestyle. It comes back to sifting through the greyness to find that oh-so fine line to not cross.
I was once asked, “If you could not speak, would people still know you were a Christian?” Same question for you, if you could not speak and had a “less-than-Christian appearance,” would you still live a Christ-like life?
“The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7
article by Ashlea Gutierrez