Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Do we reflect Christ?

I remember one year in high school, I had placed in the regional science fair. As a reward

not only did I get a chance to go to the Nations Capital for the national competition, but I also was offered a trip to a well known Christian college in a nearby state. I was so very excited, as I had been going to Church and had given my heart over in an alter call four or five years earlier.

I was sort of confused, as many teens are. I thought Christianity was simply saying you believed in Christ, and then doing whatever you wanted. After all we were free from the Law, and 'everything was permissible.' I kept forgetting the next part of that statement, Everything is permissible, but not everything profitable.

As a few of us loaded up in a fifteen passenger van, there were two girls that just seemed really fun. I introduced myself as did the fellow riding with us, and we all sort of hit it off. Never mind the fact that I had a girlfriend, and to be honest I had no intention of flirting, but I found myself doing it anyway. Throughout the trip I had many conflicts of my spirit versus my flesh. At one point the girls were making fun of our driver and host, who was a science professor at the college. They were making fun because he did the 'sign of the cross' over himself before he prayed for his meal. I don't know if he was Catholic, Lutheran? I to this day don't know.

Yet when they made fun of him for showing his faith, I was offended! I told them so as well. For the rest of the trip to the college, no one spoke to me. They treated me as if I was leprous because I didn't think it was right to make fun of someone. Especially make fun of someone over God!! Once we arrived at the school though, everything changed. They started talking to me again about how excited they were and how great it was to get a chance to see this Christian school in action.

After all the touring was done and we were assigned our room, the girls wanted to walk around and see the compass. Sure, I thought, just a couple friends walking around a college campus at night. We walked through the different dorms and I was in shock! One room would have a girl in her underwear dancing to sultry, secular music. The next would have a guy in his boxers flexing in front of a mirror and holding a 40. Then we'd find rooms were people were making out with abandon. These 'Christians' knew how to party!

Later in the night we were walking these two girls back to their temporary dorm rooms, and the couple ahead of us were holding hands. Then they stopped and moved off the path into the trees and started kissing and making out. The girl that was walking with me, winked and tried to grab my hand. I backed up and said Woah, I have a girlfriend back home!. Boom I was leprous again. The other girl in the trees making out, heard me tell her friend that I had a girl back home.. and they both tore into me. How dare you walk around with us and flirt with us, and pretend the whole time you were interested without telling us you were in a serious relationship! (Not in such friendly concise words.)

They stormed back to their room, and my room mate left me standing there in the dark dumbfounded. I was so troubled by all the things I had seen. Here I was on a tour of a Christian school with other students who wanted to attend a Christian school, yet there seemed to be nothing Christian about it! People were angry at me for keeping true to my promise to a girl back home, and others were mad at me because I didn't think it was right to make fun of a man for showing his faith, and yet more were making out doing who knows what else in those rooms upstairs.

I laid awake for many hours after that, thinking about how much better a Christian I was than them. How I was really here because I loved Christ, but them! They were sinners!!!


…..

How wrong could I have been? I got upset when they made fun of the man, not because of God, but because I felt I should. I didn't have any righteous indignation, it was simply me making them feel bad for something they did, even though in a similar situation I might have done the same.. according to who was around. They had no reason to think I was a Christian. I had spent the entire ride talking to them about nothing but the world. I then proceeded to walk with them through very worldly circumstances, not saying a word about them. I wasn't the slightest bit uncomfortable, I even thought it was the coolest school I had been too!

You see I was a fair weather Christian. When I was at youth league or Sunday school, God came first. The moment I went out of that church building I was back to being just a normal teenager. You see I wasn't even offended for God when the girl tried to hold my hand, after all I hadn't told her I had a girlfriend... I hadn't acted like I had a girlfriend... Yet when she tried to hold my hand, I was more offended that she impugned my Christianity, than I was that I could have led her into a false situation.

What is the point of my story? All things are permissible, yet not profitable. We as Christians need to be careful of our actions because they speak of where our heart is. If we have entire schools claiming to be Christian schools, yet permitting complete secular nights, then we have a problem. “Oh but we can't tell them what they can and can't do with their lives.” No you can't. Yet you are a Christian school. You CAN tell them that when you are on our campus, you are to follow the rules of Christianity. If you can't, then you need to leave.

Is that harsh? Maybe. Yet how many young men and women walk onto a Christian campus and see Christ? I am not saying all schools are this way, I've only been on the campus of a few Christian colleges. I can say without blinking, that those colleges I have visited, were no more Christian than the secular college I myself attended. We need to show Christ in our every action, whether it's going to school, simply riding in a van with some friends, or eating lunch at Wendy's. We need to be worried about how they perceive us. It shouldn't have taken eating a meal and seeing another person show their faith, for them to find out I was a Christian! They should have known by my words, my actions, the way I talked on the way down that I was a Christian. Instead they thought I was just like them, and that's because I was! To be honest, most of us are! We are still just like the world, because we only put on our Christian suit when we go to church, or someone else brings up Christ.

So let's put our Christian suits on and never take them off. Let's be the first to bring up Christ in a conversation. If they aren't interested, fine. Yet they should know within a few minutes of talking to us that we are different, we aren't like the rest of the world, we aren't supposed to be. We have a different kingdom, one of Love, one of God... let us put it all on the table, and not hide anything from anyone.

In Christ,
Brian