Why are Christians I've met such jerks?
I wonder the same thing! But when it comes right down to it, Jesus didn’t come to redeem people who have it all together, but those who know they have problems. Since the Church is made up of regular people with the same good and bad traits that regular people have, some of those people are obnoxious. There are also many so-called Christians with an arrogant, holier-than-thou attitude who, like the Pharisees of old, think themselves better than all the “sinners” out there. This trait is usually found in people who are relying on their obedience to the Commandments for their salvation; they’ve fallen into spiritual deception and are manifesting a spirtual pride that will eventually take them to Hell. The mark of a true, mature Christian is the unselfish love and compassion he has for others. Anything short of this being visible in the person’s character shows either that he is an immature Christian or that he is a false Christian.
Jesus had this to say about how one could recognize a true Christian.
King James Bible
New Jerusalem Bible
By this shall all men know that your are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
It is by your love for one another that everyone will recognize you as my disciples.
“Yeah, but what about hypocrites like Jim Bakker or Jimmy Swaggart?”
Let’s face it--part of being a human male is that there will always be the potential for sexual temptation. People like Bakker and Swaggart are no different from you or I who could find ourselves caught up in the same sin under the right circumstances. The only difference is, as ministers of the Gospel, men like them have a far greater obligation to live Godly lives because so many people look up to and follow them. Where they failed is in understanding that a man who advances to a position of leadership in the Body of Christ must give not only his heart to Jesus Christ--but his body as well. Bakker and Swaggart might have trusted Jesus Christ as savior, putting their faith in Him and perhaps surrendering their lives to Him, but they never fully surrendered their bodies to God’s will. Failing that, the Devil used the weak spot in all men to draw them into sin and through that to corrupt and ruin them. You could see it coming in Jimmy Swaggart long before it became public. I wasn’t even serving God at the time, yet in the months prior to his getting caught I noticed in Swaggart’s personality pride and a near total lack of love and compassion for the lost. He seemed to hate the lost more than he loved them!
But that’s the past. I choose to think that both men are better for the criticism they reaped. And if they are outright hypocrites, they might get through this life but in the next will spend eternity paying for their sin. The bottom line is, “hypocrites” in the Church are no reason to reject Christ or to stay away from joining a church. In fact, if you can do better, please consider going into the ministry. We need more good ministers like you would be in the face of some of those who give Christians a bad name!
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