The other day I received a phone call from a friend of mine who I used to go to community college with when I lived in Colorado. I had recently moved to Arizona and this was the first of my friends that I had heard from. Since I hadn’t spoken to her in quite a while she didn’t know that I had moved and was wondering if I wanted to do something with her that evening.
“Hang out, have some beers, and talk about old times.” She said rather excited to see an old friend again.
“I can’t.” I said sadly. “I’m in Arizona.” I explained quickly.
“Why are you in Arizona.” The question I knew was coming and the serious wish that I wouldn’t have to answer it hit me all at once.
“I’m enrolled in Bible College.” I said reluctantly.
“Why?” She asked as if I’d gone insane.
“Well… because I’m a Christian.” Again reluctantly.
“How long has that been going on.” She continued as if it was a phase.
“Pretty much all my life.” I said still feeling rather ashamed.
“Wow I would never have guessed.” She said again. Feeling like I had, for one reason or another misrepresented my God when I was around her, asked why she wouldn’t have guessed and I got an answer that has stuck with me and changed the way I think about calling myself a Christian.
“You didn’t judge me.” She said outright. “When I talked to you about how I was living with my boyfriend you didn’t tell me that I was going to hell because I’m a sinner. You talked to me about how my decision was not good and that I would have issues in the future with it and you explained your view but you didn’t judge me. All the time I knew you, you didn’t ever condemn me for my unbelief of God. You didn’t treat me like an outcast when you saw that my arms, back, and neck are covered in tattoos and you never once thought that you were better than me. I would never have guessed that you were a Christian.”
I realized after this answer that I didn’t hate calling myself a Christian because of the fact that I was ashamed of the gospel of Christ which is the power of God for the salvation of all those that believe (Romans 1:16), I’m not ashamed to identify myself with Christ because even in my relationship with this friend I told her that I believed in a creator and why logically I thought that was the only answer. Even after this conversation she wouldn’t have thought I was a Christian. Because I know that I’m not ashamed of God I have come to the conclusion that I am ashamed to identify myself with a race of Christians who judge people.
To this race of Christians I say “you have no excuse, oh man; every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things.” (Romans 2:1) If you take this verse to any Christian or any person they will inevitably say… “I don’t judge people.” Every time some one says that I feel like they are saying, “I’m not like those that judge people. That would be bad.” I’m not sure if you all noticed this but that statement is judging people who judge! Do you understand my frustration?
I am reminded of a popular saying that I heard for the first time in high school which was something to the effect of “Don’t drink, smoke, or chew, or roll with those who do.” Its interesting to me to realize that the same people who brought this little rhyme to my attention also had another common expression referred to as W.W.J.D. standing for what would Jesus do. Well, assuming that Jesus continues the patterns that he began in the bible, he would walk right up to Zacchaeus and ask him to hang out some time. This makes me wonder, where it is in the Bible that says I shouldn’t do things with sinner and if it isn’t in the Bible (I dare you to look for it) then where in the world did our youth group leaders come up with this idea?