I am a Christian. The title is one that I don’t announce when introducing myself to others, mainly because I find it a little weird to give a personal ad at first meeting (Hi, I’m Andrea. I’m a Christian brunette Taurus who prefers soft jazz and spending time indoors), but also to avoid being stereotyped by a religious label, stereotyping which I fully endorsed in the past. I used to judge people who labeled themselves “Christian” as weaklings who need a cane of righteousness to bolster themselves because of their failures. If someone said “Jesus is my Savior,” I changed the subject. My motto was Keep Your Religion to Yourself.
Because of my past attitudes toward religion, I know that associating yourself with Jesus who died to save the world’s sins can cause people to view you as judgmental, elitist, the sense that you will be looking down your nose at them at any misstep or imperfection. When I identify myself as such, I know that when some people know that I am a Christian, they may think that I silently file them under the heathen list I keep in my head. In fact, I try not to pass judgment, because I am imperfect.
However, we all love to label things, figuratively and literally. I do not own a literal labeler because everything in my house would have a white label on it spelling out what it is, and no one needs that nonsense. Labeling figuratively serves little purpose other than to put people into neat little boxes, and we are more complex than that.
So I am a Christian who at times uses immature language, eats and drinks too much, yells at my kids, is less than gracious with my husband, gossips, likes crude jokes… the list of human behavior goes on. I’m just like everyone else. I am a sinner. I need Jesus in my life to heal my soul and direct my life.
When people who don’t understand what being a Christian is, they say to me, “I don’t go to church; they wouldn’t want me there” or “I’m not good enough for church” or “The church would burn to the ground if I went in.” I say, “Well, I’m there every week, and it still seems to be standing” or “If everyone who goes to church is perfect, we wouldn’t need church.” I don’t know if they get it.
It is my experience that we are all the same here: human. The more you talk to and relate to others, the more you realize that we are all so similar. Sure, some people seem “better” or “more holy” than others. But the truth is that they aren’t. No one measures up to the level of holiness that God is. They sin, just like me, and just like you, and the pope, all clergy people, and even Mother Teresa. We all need God’s grace to make us right despite our sins.
Eventually, we will be made perfect, but not on this earth, and certainly not because of anything we do or say or are while we are here. It’s who God is and what he has done which makes us C-H-R-I-S-T-I-A-N.
And that is not obnoxious.
So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. For the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you through Christ Jesus from the power of sin that leads to death. The law of Moses cannot save us, because of our sinful nature. But God put into effect a different plan to save us. He sent his own son in a human body like ours, except that ours are sinful. God destroyed sin’s control over us by giving his son as a sacrifice for our sins. Romans 8: 1-3 (NLT)