So much of the time it seems like people assume that making yourself part of a group involves hating and judging anyone outside of it. As Christians, then, we must hate people who are atheists or Muslims, people who are gay, people who are “sinners,” (read on to see that even Christians are “sinners") even sometimes people who are of different denominations.
And yet, anyone who has actually read the Bible should know that all these negative sentiments go completely contrary to everything in it. As just a few examples:
“And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13
“You have heard it said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Matthew 5:43-44
“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:39B
“You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason frankly with your neighbor, lest you incur sin because of him.” Leviticus 19:15
Everything about Christianity clearly says to love people and treat them as you want to be treated (“Do to others as you would have them do to you” Luke 6:31). That includes people you disagree with. People who hurt you. People you’re not friends with. People who are different from you. Everyone! Don’t hate. Don’t judge. Just love.
2. Christianity is about rules
I feel like I’ve seen several examples recently of people objecting to Christianity because of all the rules they feel like Christians have to follow. Don’t have sex before you’re married, don’t drink, don’t smoke, don’t cuss. If you’re a girl, don’t do this. If you’re a guy, do this. These people don’t seem to understand that Christianity isn’t about rules.
“For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, ‘Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.’” Galatians 3:10
Before Jesus, there were a lot of rules. There were entire books of all the things people had to do and not do in order to be right with God. You know what people quickly found out? They couldn’t follow all those rules. Because they were people (read: imperfect).
So what happened? Jesus happened. The only perfect human in the history of humanity came and followed the rules for us. Not only did He follow the rules, but He died as if He hadn’t. He was crucified as a sinner to free us from the law.
“For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace” Romans 6:14
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,” Ephesians 2:8
So now we don’t have to follow rules. They will neither get us into heaven nor keep us out. The next point goes more into that.
3. Christianity is about being “good enough”
Going along with my previous point on rules, lots of people intertwine Christianity with this concept of being “good enough.” To go to heaven, they think, we have to please God. We have to be nice and friendly and godly. We have to embody love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness (Galatians 5:22-23). In short, we have to earn our way into heaven.
You know how you can earn you way into heaven? Be perfect. You know how many people in the history of people have been perfect? If you’ve been paying attention, the answer to that question is one. And it’s not you.
“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” 1 John 1:8
“As it is written: ‘None is righteous, no, not one;” Romans 3:10
None of us are perfect. None of us can do all the right things. None of us can be good enough for God. Again, though, as I mentioned in my last point, we don’t have to be! Jesus already was and is perfect, which means that now we don’t have to be. We don’t have to follow rules, we don’t have to do everything right, we don’t have to have unrealistic expectations for ourselves.
“In him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace” Ephesians 1:7
The mentality of trying to be “good enough” will only do one of two things: it will make you feel depressed and inadequate, thinking you can never be good enough for God. Or it will make you compare yourself to others and judge them for all the things they’re doing that you think they shouldn’t be (See point 1).
You can’t be perfect, which means you can’t be good enough for heaven. But you don’t have to be! No matter how many bad things you do, how many good things you fail to do, Jesus is good enough, and that’s all that matters.
“Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.” Matthew 12:31
4. Christianity is about ANYTHING other than GOD
Basically, it seems like people over think things. They try to figure out what they have to do, how they have to think, who they have to be in order to be a Christian, and in doing so they completely miss the point of being a Christian.
Christianity is not about hating people who aren’t living their lives the way you think they should.
Christianity is not about restricting your life to this narrow set of behaviors and thoughts that are deemed acceptable based on your age, race, gender, or anything else.
Christianity is not about being perfect and earning your way to eternity.
Christianity is about God.
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
Once you receive God’s love and forgiveness, Christianity boils down to loving God, loving those whom God loves (a.k.a everyone), and living your life to the best of your ability in a way that reflects that love.
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.” 1 John 4:7