It’s not easy to be a principled person. It’s even more difficult when you’re trying to be principled in an environment that’s seemingly adverse to your principles. Be that as it may, if you’re a Christian, then you know that Jesus said, “In the world you will have tribulation” (John 16:33); that Paul said, “All who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12); and that Peter said, “Even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled” (1 Peter 3:14). Christians should expect trouble as a result of their faith. The issue that I’d like to shortly address, however, is not with this: the issue that I’d like to address is the Church’s current view in the culture.
To put it plainly, the culture doesn’t have esteem for the Church, and it has little to do with the Church’s faith. Recently on the news, for example, I watched as an interviewer was told by a guest, who was not an expert on Ecclesiology, that Christians in the church have just as high a divorce rate and just as much trouble with pornography as the “general public.” Whether or not you agree with that statement (and I’m not sure that I do), it’s hurtful! I know that it hurt me — as a husband, a pastor, and a Christian. While I’m not going to argue about the authenticity of the statement, or whether or not everyone in that mix is in fact a Christian, the damage was probably done in the audience’s eyes. It was stated matter-of-factly and went unchallenged.
My point, though, is this: as Christians we need to live lives that are admirable and praiseworthy. Are we perfect? No. Are we spotless? No. But perfection should certainly be our aim, and we cannot remain satisfied until we have reached our goal. In most cases, the culture is getting it’s view of Jesus from us — you and me — and not from the Bible. He didn’t sin (1 Peter 2:22). He didn’t misuse words (1 Peter 2:23). He lived an unselfish life (1 Peter 2:24).
Is this the overall picture that the culture is gleaning from us? Apparently not. We need to step up our game.