Christians By Whose Standards?

Many Americans claim to be Christians. Statistics from a few years ago stated that between 70 – 75% of adults in America identify themselves as Christians – about 240,000,000 Americans. Knowing that 3 out of 4 adults in America are Christians is mind-boggling to me. You would think that we would know how to treat each other.
To me, a Christian is a learner and follower of Christ. A Christian’s speech, behavior, and actions should be Christ-like. A Christian’s life should be characterized by obedience to God’s Word and love for others.  We should not be Christians in name only. We are ambassadors for Christ, His messengers, His representatives. We should display Christian character in all of our relationships and interactions with others. The Bible gives us many character traits of Jesus that we, as Christians, should emulate. Love and compassion are two of the most important traits we should emulate. The Bible is also very clear about the things that God hates, which means, these are the things we should also hate.  Proverbs 6:16-19 lists seven things that are detestable to Him – a proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and one who stirs up conflict among brethren.
I cannot believe that with 240,000,000 Christians in the United States of America, there is still so much racism, inhumane treatment of immigrants in detention centers, and so many other un-Christian-like behaviors plaguing our country. By whose standards are we using to identify ourselves as Christians? Our own standards or God’s standards?
As I was finishing up this topic, I ran across a CNN article – “The God of Love Had a Really Bad Week.” The writer talked about how she felt a sense of grief when a crowd of people who were familiar-looking people like her neighbors, classmates, friends, and family, and who were probably mostly Christians, chanted “send her back.” She went on to say that she didn’t recognize this type of Christianity. One other thing that she mentioned in her article really grieves me as well. She mentioned that some of her clergy friends reported that angry congregants have intimidated them after preaching a political sermon, with threats to rescind donations or even have them fired. How can clergy be more concerned about pleasing man than about pleasing God? It is bad enough for many of the 240,000,000 Christians to sell out and be conformed to this world, but it is even worse that their leaders, pastors, and other clergy, those called by God, are doing the same.
I’ve learned that, as Christians, we have to live by God’s standards, and He has high standards for us, His children. As Christians, we (all races) are sisters and brothers in Christ. How can we continue to treat each other with hatred?  I have also learned that we are called to make a difference in this world.  We are called to show love and compassion to others and to hate evil. God tells us that we should not be conformed to this world, but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds, so that we can prove what is that good, acceptable, and perfect will of God. Philippians 4:8 says – “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” There is a quote that says – “Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habits. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.” Our destiny begins with our thoughts. Use this simple test to determine by whose standards you are living – “if it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it is probably a duck.”
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Deborah Watkins
“At Your service to do Your Will”