I asked Jesus how much he loved me, and he replied "This much," then he stretched out his arms and died.
In today's world, the ideas of Christianity and the Church have become so warped, that much of the time they reflect nothing of what Jesus intended when this whole thing began. The meaning of Christian is 'Little Christ', which proclaims the fact that who we are is supposed to be striving to be like Jesus. But how can we do that, when so often we allow ourselves to get caught up in the hypocrisy and the fuzzy view of Christianity that is formed today?
The first question then that needs to be asked is, who was Jesus? Sure there's the obvious answers; he was the Son of God, the Messiah, sent down to earth to help us see the way. But those are not the answers that help us become Christians as Jesus called us to be. And that is where many people stop when asked that question.
Jesus was a revolutionary. He took the ideas of the church at the time, and shook them at their foundations. He showed that the way to heaven wasn't through a bunch of old men who you had to report to and offer your sacrifices in front of. He taught the people that they could have a personal relationship with God, instead of the Pharisees being the only ones to communicate with Him.
He was a friend of sinners. Which meant, he was a friend to all. Many Christians today hear that we're to spread the Gospel to save those who aren't saved, and automatically put themselves in a position where they are 'higher' than non-Christians. Most of them will never admit to it, but it's easy to see that's what they've done by their actions. They treat non-Christians different than they treat Christians. They're exclusive, they see non-Christians as someone who needs to be saved, not someone who needs to be touched by a friend. This is not Jesus. Jesus befriended non-believers. He ate dinner with them, he was a guest at their homes, and he befriended them. He showed them friendship when none would dare go near them.
He discarded the idea that believers had rights over non-believers, and rights to punish them for their sins. When a woman was to be stoned to death for adultery, Jesus said 'Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.' And no-one could do it, because we are all sinners. Christians tend to ignore that fact so often today. They preach about how homosexuals are going to hell, and cannot have a relationship with God, how anyone who does any sort of major sin cannot be a Christian. They treat them differently, like 'sinners' instead of people. Yet, Jesus, who is supposed to be God in the flesh, had relationships with these people. So, if we are supposed to be like Christ, should we ourselves not be creating relationships with them instead of condemning them? We sin too, so what makes us any better than them?
He changed the entire idea of church. Instead of church being the place to get right with God, he taught us that it should be the place to come and encourage one another in God, and be in God's presence together. There's nothing wrong with getting right with God at church, but there is something wrong with only ever getting right with God AT church. He taught us that the Church was not a building, it was the people. The Church is supposed to be relational, supposed to represent unity. Support for one-another. Anyone could walk into a church today and see that's not what it is. Churches today have become exclusive, they have become a club, elite in stature, where only those who fit into their ideas will be accepted. Sure, that's not what they preach. They preach unity, they preach relationships; but that doesn't mean it actually happens. Having been at the same church for the past four years, I have seen the falsity in this. Because I am not just like them, I am not part of the unity. I am not asked how I am doing, or invited to be part of things. And I'm not the only one. In fact, there are a large chunk of people within this church who are excluded from everything simply because they're different. That is not what church is about.
It's no wonder that the world views Christians as people who think they're better, as people who are unaccepting, cold, and hypocrites. It's also no wonder that many people have rejected their faith because of the hypocrisy they have seen and how they have been treated.
Maybe it's time for another revolution, a revolution where Christians who are fed up with this warped view stand together and prove to the world that Christianity is not an elite cult trying to force the masses into belief, and pretending they are better than everyone else. Maybe it's time to revolutionize who we are; not a religion, but men and women, children and teens, striving to be like a man who caused the first major change in the church. Striving to be a friend that the world can trust, a person who radiates love instead of exclusiveness, and a sinner who acknowledges that they are no better than anyone else, and still have much to learn. Striving to be like the Son of God, whom our namesake was created after. Jesus called us, not to be above everyone else telling them the way, but to be disciples, students who in our learning spread our new knowledge to others through love and friendship.