So when did “Christian” stop meaning “Christ-like”?
This is a response to an article titled, 'Why are so many Christians not nice people?' by Dr Michael Abrahams published April 20, 2015. I can call myself a cook when I'm able to throw some things together in a pot and live, of course, outside my consistent ability to burn water to cinders. However, does that make me qualified to cook meals for the masses?
It has long grinded my nerves into the very dust the broad-brushing of a very many people under the term 'Christians' aiming to encompass the 'convenient believer in God', or 'a god' for that matter, with the 'Christ-like'. It is true, we all fall short of the glory and the undeserved grace, or, more simply put, permission to live, of God and are to make our decisions and responses regarding challenges with this in mind.
I'm happy you've aimed light at this issue as it gives me a reason to hypothetically crawl out from under The Rock higher than I, equated to our silence on every issue we're not clearly pronounced in addressing.
Your concerns are valid and it is indeed an issue of great concern for both you and I, but more so because there is clearly a fuzzy understanding of the truth. I can confidently declare that certainly in all the history of our law-defined existence, no orange tree has borne an Otaheite apple, naturally.
Furthermore, skipping conveniently but purposefully church-like a few lines down from one of your biblical references in highlighting the 18th verse of the book of Matthew chapter seven (Matthew 7:18), "A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit." Pretty straightforward, but let me be clear. A proclaimed Christian is only truly and coherently so when there is a consistency between the title and the physical manifestation of 'good works' or 'God works'.
Is it that our daily lives deserve more logical analysis than the matters of God? Tip-of-my-tongue careers, doctors and lawyers, before the lecture theatre doors swing shut on their university-level years, aim to build on their desired titles in internships and later continuous bar exams respectively, right?
Without doubt, they jump feet first right into exercising what they know until the casket closes and so deserve to be addressed by the title they've worked for, even after they die.
On the flip, faster than you can say "John 14:6" would you see a lawsuit manifest from thin air should one of these title holders become involved in malpractice? And, like lightening, would their integrity, reputation, believability, trustworthiness and authority to wield any title be in question or no longer of equal effect?
Why isn't the same reasoning applied to the 'title-wielding Christian' who continues with no remorse, desire for or indication of change? Too long have we left logic out of our approach to the Truth of The King of this world and traded it for the lifeless criticisms, which later morph into cynicism and zombie-like preferences.
It is impossible to separate being Christ-like from being Christian because, as the name infers, that's where the name 'Christ-ian' comes from.
While this anointing does not transform us from being human, it does transform us from who we were and what fruit we bear. One cannot remain in a true relationship with God and not be continuously positively impacted toward endless goodness.
Finally, kudos on highlighting a matter of absolute urgency. As naturally creative and powerful beings, we often veer off the narrow road and need a tow out of the abyss of self.
As humans, Christians don't always pass the tests first time around but will never gladly fail the same test forever until the end of time. The challenges we come upon in any situation are our workout zone. It's like hitting the gym and really nailing those burpees. How we handle things reveal where we are and what we need to do to nail the next opportunity to reveal the Good, oops, God, we proclaim.