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- Jacob Ninan
Some 'great' men of the world have said, "I admire Christ. It's Christians I can't bear with." Or, "These Christians talk great things, but their lives are nowhere near." Of course it is a rebuke at us Christians, meaning that we are not good representatives of our Lord. Each of us bears the blame because the world has been disappointed with us many times, to see us behave just like or sometimes worse than non-Christians around us. Every genuine Christian is burdened with the knowledge that our lives are always coming short of what they should be (Ro.7:15-24). But at the same time we must also remember that when these 'great' men make statements like these there is usually more behind it than what appears on the surface.
Even though it sounds as if they admire Christ, they are not willing to receive Him or accept all that He did or said. They are in fact rejecting Him by saying that even though they like certain things that He did and said, they don't like some other things He said. For example very few are willing to agree that Jesus is the only way to the Father (Jn.14:6;Ac.4:12). If anyone believes this, it would revolutionise his life and perspective altogether. Those who 'admire' Christ don't want to admit that they need to be born again (Jn.3:3,5). They think that they are already good enough. In many ways like this, these people do not want to 'accept' Christ for what He claimed to be. They admire His words and acts of love, mercy, kindness, non-violence, self-sacrifice, etc., but they do not accept Him as the Son of God or the only Saviour of the world. It is really not the Christians who have put them off, but Christ Himself!
The claims of Christ prick their conscience. They don't want to face up to the pain of acknowledging that they are sinners who need a Saviour. They don't want to give up some of their sinful pleasures or sinful means of gain. Rather than admit these facts they have found themselves a respectable excuse!
Yes, we Christians have our faults, many of them. But we are individually responsible for them. No one can blame Christ for everything that His followers do wrong. If anyone wants, he himself has the opportunity to follow Christ and demonstrate a better life than what other Christians have managed to! Instead, people are using the faults of frail human beings like us as an excuse for rejecting the Son of God who lived without any fault!
On the other hand, these critics fail to take into account the innumerable examples of Christians who have blessed the world around them with their lives! In fact, one of the reasons why many people have come to Christ is that they saw and marvelled at the lives of some of His followers. Even societies where Christians are a minority have been much blessed through the sacrifices of these Christians. Let us Christians continue in such good works. One day the world will acknowledge our God who gave us such hearts to love Him and our neighbours (Mt.5:16).