Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Don't Worry! He's a Christian!

"So be very careful how you live. Do not live like those who are not wise, but live wisely. Use every chance you have for doing good, because these are evil times."  (Ephesians 5:15-16, NCV)

You probably don't know this, but I am crazy about the game of football, especially when it comes to the Green Bay Packers.  Since I was a young girl, this team has been front-and-center in my home every fall through winter.  In my young adult years, I finally started to grasp all the rules and excitement of the game as one of my girlfriends dated a player.  She explained some of the finer details to me while we watched him play a pre-season game in Milwaukee.  Now I must confess, it is my one sports passion as I take out my pent-up aggression yelling at the TV each Sunday afternoon.

Knowing all this, it should come as no surprise that the Packers' Superbowl win was beyond thrilling to me!  And I was a complete sponge soaking up all information Packer-related in the post-season.  Of course, the press tries to feed the masses like myself information from every angle during these exciting football moments.  Taking good from this notable occasion, the faith of players was focused on.  One article I ran across in particular spawned some contemplation in me.  In it quarterback, Aaron Rodgers shares his foundation as a Bible-believing Christian.  The reader is left inspired by Rodgers' quiet strength in living out his faith.

While I enjoyed reading that my favorite quarterback shares my hope of salvation, the article still gave me pause.  Another thing that you may be unaware of is the fact that I spent most of my adult career as an investment advisor.  And when I would meet with clients at that season of my life, I would advise them, "If someone claims to a be a Christian-anything, don't walk - RUN away from them!"  Yes, I was a committed Christian when I would tell clients this, but there was a serious reason behind it.  In my job, some of the worst violations of ethics and decency I hat witnessed were committed by "Christians".  In fact, one client I had actually rescued after they had been taken to the cleaners by an investment advisor, supposedly of faith, who eventually did jail time.  Those touting their Christianity in the legal, accounting and real estate arenas were also some of the more unethical and abrasive individuals I encountered as well.

My point is this, revering or doing business with an individual simply because they claim to be Christian is nothing short of fool hearty.  The statement that someone is a Christian should send us in two directions.

First, we need to examine what being a Christian really means.  Does that mean a person is perfect and sinless?  If that's what it means to you, you're bound to be majorly disappointed.  I don't know about you, but I am a filthy sinner who needs God's grace every day to merely keep from killing my children!  However, I do think that we naturally expect someone to live to a higher standard when they say that they're a Christian.  Even at that, what that looks like to you may look different from what it looks like to another person. 

Second, we need to have our radar on full alert when we're around someone who is making the Christian claim.  Does the person display the fruit of the Spirit in their daily life?  (See Galatians 5:22-23)  Interestingly, this unrelated article came out regarding Rodgers after his Superbowl win.  It affirms his gentle, patient demeanor even under pressure.  Can we see that in others who make similar claims?  We had an excellent surgeon on our Board of Directors who is a Christian.  But I've seen others who identify themselves as such to their own detriment.  Their behavior belies their words.  I know a fabulous Christian psychiatrist, but I am also aware of others proclaiming to be such that I wouldn't let my dog near.  Ethics, prayerful discernment and common human decency are just a few clues that we should be looking to for confirmation.

Aside from filtering that label when choosing a doctor or other professional to work with, we should continually examine it in ourselves.  As I said earlier, I fall short continually.  Even so, I call on my foundational faith as a Christian to keep from yelling at insurance companies or medical professionals who are causing me great frustration.  I know that people, including my children, are looking to me for better conduct when I profess to carry around something brighter in my heart than the world has to offer.  Unless we all rise to that occasion in living out our faith and looking for it in others, we will show Christianity to have little meaning in this life.

4 comments:

  1. As far as the "having our radar on full alert" part...while I understand what you are saying it is not the job of sinners to judge what is in the hearts of others. Only God sees the heart. We are to take people at their word, if they confess Christ then we leave the rest to God.

    When we play around with judging the hearts of others we risk becoming like the Pharisees of Jesus time.

    I do understand the caution at thinking that we stand "in fellowship" with just anyone who claims Christ. We need to use the discernment that God has given us to judge business and social decisions wisely. My point is that we need to be cautious with our judgements. For when you think you are standing firm, be careful lest you fall.

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  2. Point taken, Wendy. I absolutely agree with you that we're not to critique one another's faith. I guess I was making the opposite point that we shouldn't merely get on someone's bandwagon because they claim to be a Christian. We should wisely watch for evidence that an individual making such claims is worthy of our trust or following.

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  3. Totally agreed Barb. I did hear you, I just wanted to be sure to clarify. Thank you. I am always uplifted by your devotions.

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  4. As a Christian in a non-Christian industry, I am keenly aware that my actions are being judged every day, consciously and otherwise. My boss (who trusts me implicitly with his business) is an agnostic who has been burned three times in the last two years by "Christians."

    All I can do, as a good worker and a good representative of Christ, is show up for work, be as shining a light as I can be (given that I'm as big a sinner as anyone), and pray.

    I make no guarantees of myself because of "Christian"-ness. But I do make guarantees of Christ, since He's the only one who really gets it right.

    So I'm right with you, Barb. Great point, and great post.

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