Easy A's and Flunking Christians

Ready for a shocker? There's a teen movie about drama on a high school campus that features a hypocritical Christian! In case you missed it, "Easy A" is the romantic comedy about a girl inventing a story behind losing her "v-card" to help a friend, then using her player reputation to advance the social standings of the popularity-challenged crowd at her school for profit.

And what set up her need to make up a story about her supposed hook up? Why the screechy preachy Christian right representative of course! Her jealous and gossip-laden lifestyle started the chain of rumors that sets up the plot for the rest of the movie.

So (sigh) yet again, we witness the world's perception that Christians are the bottom-feeding, judgmental rumor starters that are pretty much to blame for most of what is wrong in the world.

And in many ways, I'd have to agree…

Haven't you read about or heard about people who call themselves Christians and yet appoint themselves the prosecutor, judge and jury to the world around them? Or the more subtle types that can condemn with just a look and spread gossip like wildfire under the category of "prayer requests"?

So what happened to us, exactly? Shouldn't we be the most joy-filled people on the planet? Shouldn't people see something radically different about us and thus seek us out to discover the reason why we aren't shackled by the chains of hopelessness, addictions, and prejudices?

The answer, of course, is a resounding "YES." Not only because we have the joy and love of Jesus Christ living within us, but because when we choose to reinforce the negative stereotypes of Christians in the media, we hinder and even devastate our mission and calling to share the gospel message with everyone around us.

In other words…we've blown it, and it's way past time to rebuild our once loving and giving reputation with a culture that is in desperate need of the incredible message that Jesus Christ is alive and offers us life – now and forever.

To that end, I propose a quick test. After you read the passages below, rate yourself in the categories I list on a scale of 1-10.

Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. Don't repay evil for evil. Don't retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will bless you for it.

And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ. Remember, it is better to suffer for doing good, if that is what God wants, than to suffer for doing wrong! (1 Peter 3:8-9; 15-17).

I live in unity and peace with my brothers and sisters in Christ.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

I am tenderhearted and humble by nature.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

I respond to insults with kind words.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

People see the hope that comes from my relationship with Jesus Christ.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

I could explain the gospel message to anyone who asked me.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

I am gentle and respectful when I talk to people about my faith.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Can you imagine how differently we would be perceived if the world saw humility, respect, and an authentic desire to discuss (not argue) different views and perspectives on God? I know there would still be persecution of Christians, but that would come from a fundamental dislike for the message of the gospel rather than a reaction to unashamed hypocrisy and superior/judgmental attitudes.

If life is like a movie and Christians have historically played the fool, then let's re-write the script and recast ourselves as the winsome and heroic characters who helped "open their eyes, so they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God. Then they will receive forgiveness for their sins and be given a place among God's people, who are set apart by faith" (Acts 26:18).

Flashpoint: Ignite Into Action

This week, ask your Christian friends to rate themselves on the list above, then brainstorm ways you all could improve in each of those areas to improve your witness for Christ. Ask your unsaved friends what they think of the Christians on campus to see if they believe the media stereotypes.

Accelerant: Feed the Fire

Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life-in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing (Philippians 2:14-16).

See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness. Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be completely lighted, as when the light of a lamp shines on you" (Luke 11:35-36).

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption (Ephesians 4:29-30).