Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of thy name: and deliver us, and purge away our sins, for thy name's sake. (Psalm 79:8)
Stereotypes. We can all be stereotyped into a variety of categories whether we like it or not. I for instance, can be considered a "typical" woman, accountant, and born-again Christian. Each stereotype conjures up both positive and negative images in our minds. The images are based on a person's past experience with a particular type, whether the experience is first, second or third-hand. Unfortunately, stereotypical characteristics are applied to individuals within each particular group, which may or may not be true reflections of that individual. Confused? Hang on, I am going somewhere with this.
I'm bringing up this subject today because I recently overheard a side conversation in a group setting where people were talking about born-again Christians. To summarize briefly, I heard the words "hypocrites" and "judgmental" among others. One of the parties to this conversation said "I'm just a regular Christian", in an effort to make sure she wasn't classified with the "born-agains". First, I must clarify that to be a Christian and to go to heaven, you must be "born again". That's what the bible says. So I have to ask myself whether this "regular" Christian is really a Christian or whether she just doesn't realize that she is a "born-again" Christian. But I digress.
What really got to me about what I overheard was not about debating whether or not these individuals were really Christians, but the fact that so many born-again Christians are giving us a bad name by not living out their lives as God intended. As I read through Psalm 79 today, I noticed this point again. Take a look again at the verse 8 at the top of this post. Keep in mind once again that I'm not holding myself up to be all righteous and good. I too, have given God a bad name with my words and actions on occasion. What a shame that is!
Christians, we are held to a higher standard because we represent such a Holy God. If we aren't cleansing our minds daily by reading God's Word and allowing it to penetrate our hearts and minds, we will have no chance in keeping this high standard of humble righteousness. No chance. It is hard enough for me and I do get into my bible everyday. This is a heavy post I know, but my heart is heavy for those who might not hear the truth of salvation because their minds are clouded by what they see Christians to be. Let us all sincerely strive to be who God wants us to be so that our lives aren't stumbling blocks to those who need Jesus.
Dear Heavenly Father, I thank you for who you are to me and to the world. I thank you for your mercy and grace. Help us to seek your face daily through your written word for your name's sake. Forgive us for letting you down and not being the best ambassadors for you that we could be. Deliver us from our sins and purge them from us for YOUR name's sake, not for our own. Help us to desire to be more like you every day that we live. Amen.