Mahatma Gandhi: leader, activist, and revolutionary.
Gandhi is best known for leading India’s independence movement. What made Gandhi so revolutionary was his non-violent approach that sparked change. Using strikes and pickets instead of armies and guns, Gandhi was successful in creating change. India celebrated their independence on August 15, 1947. Gandhi was assassinated just a few months later.
Perhaps one of Gandhi’s most famous quotes: we must be the change we want to see in the world. Philosophically, I like a lot of what Gandhi had to say.
People may also remember Gandhi for his words regarding Christians. I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ. While Gandhi seemed to learn towards universalism and spiritualism, many have adopted his attitude towards Christians; including other Christians.
This seems to be a prevalent stance among Christians: we love Jesus, but we don’t like other Christians. At the risk of pointing out the glaringly obvious, if you’re going to compare and contrast me to Jesus, He is going to win every time. It’s not exactly an insult to tell me that Jesus is better than me: I agree!
Also, are you sure your comparing Christians to the Jesus in the Bible? Or are your comparing Christians to the Jesus you created in your own head? (I promise, I don’t mean that to be snarky.) We love to paint Jesus as a happy hippy, but He was much more than that. Many claim to know and serve Christ, but they don’t. That’s not my assessment, that’s Biblical.
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ – Matthew 7:21-23
Additionally, it’s a little silly to look inside the church and turn your nose up at all the sinners. That’s like walking into a hospital and complaining about all the sick people. Truthfully, and I say this with grace and love: what else would you expect?
But, let’s get to the real problem here…
20 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also. – 1 John 4:20-21
You cannot say you love God and hate your brothers and sisters in Christ. It just doesn’t work that way. You also can’t say things like: well, some Christians are cool but most of them are *insert hurtful adjective here*. That doesn’t work either. If you love God, you’re going to love His children. You’re going to want to do what Scripture says and love and encourage the folks in your Church.
Where is mercy? Where is forgiveness? Where is grace? We are so quick to dismiss people, so quick to toss away relationships. We’re so quick to write people off as a wicked hypocrite. Is this love?
I understand that more often than not, when we have a bitter attitude towards Christians, it’s usually the byproduct of pain. We’ve been hurt by a church or an individual, and now we’re reacting. No one understands that better than me (I’ll share that story another day). It’s really easy to allow our pain to pin us down and keep us in a lowly place. I should know…
When we turn our nose up at other Christians and think to ourselves I’m so glad I’m not like THOSE Christians: that’s pride, my friends. If you’re elevating yourself above other Christians, claiming you’re not like them, ironically, you’re exactly like them.
If you see Christians who are behaving in a way that doesn’t reflect Christ, encourage them. Build them up. Point them to Scripture. Pray for them. Pray with them. Stand in their corner. Disciple them. Don’t walk away and point your finger and laugh at them.
If you’ve been hurt by Christians, reconcile relationships, forgive, move on. I know, easier said than done, but we’ve really got to start handling pain and conflict in a more God-glorifying way.
This Christian civil war needs to end. If we actually loved one another, as Scripture commands, and stood shoulder to shoulder, imagine how much different the church would look…
Take care and God bless.