Life is about perspectives. We see it one way; due to what we heard, seen or experienced in our own situations. It is easy to let our own perspective shape the way we apply things to our lives.
Take me for example. I’ve always thought small town Texas was bizarre before I moved to Texas. I call it the “Friday Night Lights” mentality. High School football is life there. The town shuts down for pep rallies, people drive hours to another no name town to watch kids hash it out on the grid-iron. What’s so great about it? I just assumed these people had nothing better to do. I immediately wrote off ever partaking in this bizarre atmosphere. Fast forward five years. I drove a bus full of 15 high schoolers 2 and a half hours to watch a small town Texas high school team play in play offs. I screamed and yelled when the ref’s made bad calls. And my stomach dropped when they lost.
Perspective. Until you really experience it; you won’t get it.
Here’s a better example. During the 1950’s African Americans were considered, “separate but equal.” You were un-fairly judged for the color of skin, not who you are. Men and women had to be ostracized because of something that they could not control. This was the consensus perspective across the nation.
So were all people at that time that followed those laws evil racists? Probably not.
So why did they think it was okay? Perspective.
People perceived that this, was the way it should be because it was simply the way it is. I don’t think every person truly believed these horrible claims and discriminating lifestyle. What I do believe is people had terribly wrong perspective. This perspective, or lens that they saw through trickled down to how they lived their lives.
I’m reading a book. It’s an overload of information. But powerful in it’s message. This book is walking it’s readers through the reality that Christians sit in today. This reality is that the perspective that non-believers have of Christians is not one that Jesus would want.
This book shows statistics that over 70% believe that being “Christian” associates with these things:
Too involved in politics. Anti-gay. Anti-choice. Illogical. Want to convert everyone.
I don’t see the name of Jesus in any of that. Talk about a wrong perspective.
So, how dare those un-believers discredit Christians efforts to this country with bad mouthing them! Right? This book says to cast the blame at the mirror.
Woe to you, Christians. “We have become known for what we are against, not who we are for.”- David Kinnaman, UnChristan. (p.26).
Ouch. Not only are un-believers perspective off, our perspective of what Christianity is, is off. Here are my two cents…
Our(Christians) perspective is so far from the Truth now. Christians now are about what they do and not who they live for. We care about the ‘”how to get there”, and not about who’s taking us! We have become people solely focused on the doing and leaving out who already did it. Again, woe to us.
When all this started to simmer for me it all came down to one word. Grace. We hear it all the time. But I don’t think we get what it actually means.
Grace: un-meritted favor given due to no prior action or good. Example, man walks in to crowd of 200 people. Man gives $100 bill to 7 different individuals. Man leaves.
What? Why those seven people? Did he like what they wore? No, grace. Did they smile at him first? No, grace. Are they required to do something extraordinary with that cash? No! Grace.
We get that. If this happened we would be astounded. We are blown away by gracious gifts like this. But believers continue to waiver; not daily enamored by the enormous gift of Grace given by the Lord himself.
What if we shifted our perspective from what we did and how we did it to simply one word, Grace…What would happen?
I believe this happening in small pockets of believers around the globe. But the masses are missing it! For us to really bring Christ to the world, don’t we have to gain perspective like Him? Let me put it plainly.
Take the $100 bill analogy. We look at it through the wrong lens. We take our $100 and feel guilty for this gift. So we spend our lives finding the best way to “give back” the debt we are now due to this gracious giver. Or maybe we feel deserving of this gift. We wore the right clothes. We did the right things. Our things are better than others did not do due to their lack of character, morality, etc. We now must “stay the course” of our goodness because thats how the giver sees us. At first read or glance, these mindsets don’t look or sound bad. Jesus said otherwise, “Away from me, for I never knew you.”-Matthew 7:23. Woe to us, Christians.
The Lord isn’t worried about what we will do with the gift. What if we just focused on Grace? What if we reveled in the Cross? What if we saturated in what He already gave. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.”- Ephesians 2:8.
Perspective. The way we see it is how we live it. I pray that I continually cover myself in the marveling concept that I was chosen in the midst of my darkness. My hope is to not get bogged down in the what’s but that I will simply never stop saying, “Thank you.”