We just finished watching a couple of the early episodes of Undercover Boss. One in particular was the episode where the CEO of a popular restaurant chain does some undercover public opinion polling about the popularity of his company. He was surprised to learn that many people did not view his restaurant favorably.
Others do not necessarily see us as we see ourselves. I have experienced this in several ways today. I was talking to friend who had a difficult relationship with her employer. While her boss claimed to be religious, and even encouraged my friend to read Scripture, she did not treat her employee fairly or with kindness. My friend expressed dismay that this person would consider herself a Christian.
I talked with another person today who was told that Christians are judgmental and legalistic. Public opinion polls for Christians seem to be revealing why Christianity is not popular. I recently saw a church marquee sign that said something like, "If all Christians acted like you, would you want to become a Christian?"
I once had an experience like that in Walmart. I was standing in line behind a woman I recognized from church when she became very ugly with the sales lady. God revealed to me that I had often acted very much like that woman. It was a shock to see myself in that light, and it changed the way I behave. I realized that if I acted that way and people knew I was a Christian, I would be giving my Christian family a bad name.
Christians are human and will therefore sin and make mistakes, but we also have access to the power of God, through Jesus Christ, that enables us to live in a different way. As for the feeling that Christians are judgmental and legalistic, we ought to pay closer attention to James 2:12-13.
"Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment."
And for those Christians who think they can preach it but not live it, Jesus tells it differently!
By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."