As I sat in church listening to my pastor speak to the congregation about baptism and specifically baptizing in the name of Jesus, I could not help but pause for a moment as he began to recount how he’d read a poll of what millennials thought about Christians. I knew that deep down it wasn’t something that should surprise me because in all honesty it was something I could imagine. Yet, hearing it speaks volumes.
He said that he had been reading a poll that was taken of 1000 millennials in which they had been asked their thoughts about Christians. What was among the list of thoughts of Christians included “judgmental, hypocritical, political, sheltered and homophobic.” The startling thing for me is not so much that this is what is thought about Christians. It is more startling to think that these things could be named or associated with being Christian.
Yet, I cannot help but also come to the conclusion that as culture shifts and changes; as well as Christians struggle ever more in the face of a culture that is seeking truth and what love is, to know that love and truth can be a bitter pill to swallow when delivered by someone still working through their own issues.
The reality is that just because we may have had our lives changed and transformed, it doesn’t guarantee that we are perfectly walking in His perfection or perfect will at all times. We are all at different stages of growth and maturity. We are being perfected through life by every moment and encounter we are presented with. The challenge for Christians daily is to represent Christ daily as closely as we know how, as disciples of Christ, taking up our cross and producing good fruit as we connect to the vine that gives us life.
The daily question for us becomes how can we represent Christ better today than yesterday? We cannot be Christ any more than we can be the next person whom we believe represents him the best in our personal opinion. We are called to be his ambassador, agent, and living epistle. The life we live will be filled with mistakes and errors. There will be high moments and low. There will be great ones and bad. Yet, how we handle those moments in the face of those who recognize us as Christians will make all the difference in the life of those who see us and may yet still be curious to know and understand the Jesus we live for.
To make his name famous requires us to be a genuine representative of his. This means that when we love and share God’s truth, we must be tapped into his heart and walk in the Spirit as even we’ve been called to.
If a poll of 1000 millennials is just a measure of how this next generation is viewing Christians as a whole, it is up to each of us to begin to look deeply at ourselves to find the areas where we may have participated in contributing to that view. When we look at Jesus’ revelation to John in the book of Revelation about the seven churches, we see that he admitted there were great things about those churches. Yet, in as much as he saw good, he saw still more that needed to be addressed so that they could become a perfected church that represented him well and could be perceived as being without spot or wrinkle.
Let us strive daily to do what is necessary to become like Christ so that when this generation looks at us, they will truly know that we are his disciples. Let us root out images of hypocrisy, judgmentalism, homophobia, views of being sheltered and political. If these are the things that get in the way of our sincere efforts to love and live like him, let us put on more Jesus so they see Jesus as he is, not as we’ve previously and poorly portrayed him to be.
QUESTION: Do millennial views cause you to examine yourself? How can you work to better represent him?
- Are You Worshiping a Fake Jesus? (christianitytoday.com)
- Oprah sparks debate about Holy Trinity when she said Jesus Christ is her ‘brother’ (christiantoday.com)
- Jesus Christ: The Word of God (frted.wordpress.com)