Once For All

by Mark Klages, Christian Examiner Contributor |

By all accounts, this year's Oscars were standard "Hollywood love thyself" fare. One notable exception is the conduct of renowned director Spike Lee, who tried to storm out of the theater after losing to "Green Book," but was forced to return to his seat. Spike Lee, who identifies as Christian yet rejects the idea of God, is representative of typical Christianity in these United States.

Folks, if my last statement offended you, just ask yourself how Christians in America are categorized. As my pastor stated recently, here are the top five answers – Survey Says!

  1. Christians are anti-abortion, anti-choice
  2. Christians are anti-drug, including medical marijuana
  3. Christians are against pornography
  4. Christians are against adultery
  5. Christians reject liberal thinking

Casting Crowns said it well in their song, "Jesus, Friend of Sinners" when they sang, "No one knows what we're for only what we're against when we judge the wounded, What if we put down our signs crossed over the lines and loved like You did" (Hall, Mark and Matthew West. Come to the Well. 2011.) Sure, it's a song verse, but they ask a really good question. What if we stopped being against everything and actually did what Jesus called us to do? (Matt 22:37-39)

So, here's my stab at what that list would look like if we actually did what Jesus said.

  1. Christians love God the Father, Son, and Spirit, and their fellow man
  2. Christians give freely, understanding everything they have comes from God
  3. Christians forgive, understanding that they themselves were first forgiven before they even recognized their error
  4. Christians are joyful, even in the face of overwhelming odds
  5. Christians are accepting, realizing that the standard for measurement is Jesus

That is what the list should look like. Like it or not, the world associates Christians more with the behavior of Spike Lee than Tim Tebow. For the world, Tebow is an anomaly and Lee is the norm. Do you disagree? Ask your non-Christian friends how many Tim Tebows vs. how many Spike Lees they know. I think you might be surprised.

So then, how do we practice what we preach? Start by loving your neighbor. Treat him or her the way you want to be treated. For you politically-minded Christians, that means understand AOC and Tlaib, listen and love them even if you disagree with them. Don't seek to destroy them, seek to witness to them. Jesus did. Jesus took 39 lashes, three nails, and crown of thorns and yet He still loved all sinners enough to die once for all of us (Heb 10:14). Try that as a standard of judgment.

–Mark Klages is an influential contributor, a former US Marine and a lifelong teacher who focuses on applying a Christian worldview to everyday events. Mark blogs at https://maklagesl3.wixsite.com/website under the title "God Provides where Hate Divides," with a heart to heal social, political, relational, and intellectual wounds through God's divine love and grace. Mark can also be found on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mark-klages-04b42511/.