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Other Articles from The Villager

Christianity is the real deal


by Pastor Ben Araeb


 

 

I don’t have to tell you that in our lives today, we are surrounded by plenty of hype and spin, things and people who claim to be genuine but turn out to be fakes and not the genuine articles.
We don’t know who to trust apart from ourselves and even then, we seem to let ourselves down quite a lot of times.
Many people, including you perhaps, do not even want to consider Christianity because in their personal experiences, Christians are as bad, or good as everyone else.
The people who call themselves ‘Christians’ that you have come across in your life, are at best just idiots who still say and do idiotic things, or worse still, are damaging to others in the way they act and behave.
Yes, the media may hype things up but it must be based on something. Even if you are not part of it all, just look at the way Christians act towards each other in the church.
Perhaps some of you are not angry but you must be disappointed, even crushed. In the claims of Christianity, there might have been something that might have given some answers to life, the universe and everything. There might have been hope, something to trust in. But perhaps you have been let down by someone who claimed to be a Christian and so you think there might not be answers here, only more lies, more fakes. What a terrible anti-climax.
All in all, though the result is the same: You don’t want to consider Christianity, what’s the point? Christians are just a bunch of hypocrites!
Well, if you feel anything like that, then I want to say that I understand where you are coming from, because before I became a Christian, I felt exactly the same.
Don’t measure yourself by the wrong standards. If we measure ourselves by the standards of other people, most of us will end up thinking we are OK. After all, we can always find people out there who’ve done things we would never do. 
Imagine our lives being like a skyscraper. Imagine if we were all placed on a floor level depending on our relative goodness - up there in the penthouses: Mother Theresa and Gandhi. Down in the basement: Pastor Ben Araeb and Osama bin Laden.
And we like to think that God would call out a floor number and anyone on that floor or above would qualify for heaven and those on the lower floors would miss out. And we are, well, just about the right side of the line – we would always qualify for heaven. Where would we put ourselves – fraud? Not spending time with the kids? Talking about others behind their back?
But in fact, that’s what I thought Christianity was all about, it is so easy to misunderstand the Christian faith.
You see, Jesus warns us not to compare ourselves to one another; some kind of relative scale of morality. Because the standards that matter are not ours, but Jesus’ perfect standards.  And the foremost thing that Jesus asks of us is, ‘do not murder’ or ‘do not steal’. The foremost thing God asks of us is that we love him with all of our hearts and souls; minds and strengths.
But you see, I knew then as I know now that I could never do that on my own and that I wasn’t a friend of Jesus but rather an enemy deserving Jesus’ judgment.
Understand the good news of Christianity! But wait, the good news of Christianity is that Jesus came not to judge us but to rescue us. You see, he had the authority and power not only to judge but to offer forgiveness – that is what Jesus’ death and resurrection was all about. And not just for me but for people like you as well. Jesus who is the standard is also the Saviour who came to rescue people. And this is the heart of the Christian faith – the genuine Christian message – Jesus provided salvation for broken people.
The Closing Round . . . So can I leave you with a question: Are you like that? You may not think about it much but perhaps you might now. Like me, maybe, just maybe, you might realise that the problem you have with Christians is a diversion from a bigger issue, a tactic which takes the heat off you and puts it onto others. At the end of the day, if Jesus is the Judge of the universe, then what matters is not someone else’s relationship with him, but yours. Can I ask you then: Are you not playing a game of pretence with Jesus?
Like me, maybe you will realise that Jesus does have a claim on your life and that you have a dysfunctional relationship with him. Like me, maybe you will realise that although Jesus is the ‘real deal’ who can be trusted and that if you come to Him with your broken life, you will find not just meaning and standards, but something else, which is wonderful… forgiveness.
I hope these will also help the writer of ‘Everybody hates Chris’; Jesus is the ‘Real Deal’ for sure and He loves you today, tomorrow and forevermore.