Christians like to act like we’re not hypocrites. But we’re very good at it. We’ve learned to be Christians on Sunday morning, and maybe Sunday evening and Wednesday night as well. But eventually we stop being Christians. Maybe it’s Monday morning when the alarm goes off. Maybe it’s Monday afternoon when we’re in line at lunch, or after lunch on the phone at work. Maybe it’s when we’re walking to our car after work, passing people on the sidewalk. Maybe it’s at home when we flick on the TV, or when we sit down to dinner with our family. Maybe it’s when we take that call from mom or dad, or when we go to bed at night.
The fact is that the life Christ has called us to is nearly impossible. Loving your neighbors is pretty easy. Loving Marilyn Manson is not. Loving the guy who just rear-ended you because he was talking on his cell phone is not. Loving a family member who has hurt you is not. Loving the abortionist, the homosexual, the rapist, the terrorist, the horny 16-year-old dating your daughter–loving these people is never easy. But these are the people that Jesus commanded us to love. These are the people that Christ himself hung out with. These people could be the Samaritan in the story of the Good Samaritan.
Unfortunately, we don’t invite these people to church. We don’t sit down with them over a cup of coffee and listen to their life story. We grit our teeth and put up with them. We hold our breath and wait for the moment to pass. We think that by not out-right hating them, we’ve done what Jesus commanded. But that’s even worse than just hating them. That’s paying them lip service, that’s denying the God you claim to believe in. Jesus said that anyone who loves his mother, father, sister, brothers, children more than him is not worthy. When Jesus walks by asking for a ‘buck for luck,’ are you worthy to be in his presence?
Christianity is not easy. That’s why we have God’s grace. It transformed a Marilyn Manson into a Billy Graham. That sounds so offensive to our modern, padded church pew ears. But that was the life of Paul. Unbelievable.