An Open Letter to Christians from the World

In Advice and Encouragement, Relationships by Debra Fileta13 Comments

“The best argument for Christianity is Christians: their joy, their certainty, their completeness. But the strongest argument against Christianity is also Christians–when they are sombre and joyless, when they are self-righteous and smug in complacent consecration, when they are narrow and repressive, then Christianity dies a thousand deaths.” — Sheldon Vanauken

Dear Christian,

I have to be honest, I have mixed feelings about you.  A love/hate relationship if you will.  It’s like looking at two sides of a coin, trying to figure out which one is really you.  Part of me wants what you have so badly– faith, purpose, meaning — but the other side of me is too scared to jump in.

There are days that you draw me in.  I look at you and see the most loving eyes, the most gentle hands, the most open heart.  I watch as you take care of your community, as you reach out to the poor and the needy, as you mend the hearts of the broken.  There is something so meaningful and purposeful behind the way you live your life.

I am overcome by your ability to reach into my loneliness.  Reminding me that I’m not all by myself.  That someone really does care for and love me.  Somehow you always seem to know just what I need–it’s as though you had a direct line to God, or something.

I am challenged by the way you give up your time, your money, and your self for others.  I’m drawn to the fact that you are so humble, yet so confident.  You’re honest about the fact that you don’t always have it together- but that you’re working on it.  I love that genuineness…it pushes me to be real with myself as well.  It makes me want to open up.

There is something about your smile that seems real to me.  Even during really hard times.  It makes me wonder where you get such joy.  How you have such strength.  It makes me long for what you have.

Sometimes I look at your faith, and the way you hold on with all of your heart…and wish I had something to give my all to.

But then I get stuck.  I get stuck because I see the other side to your who you are, and I find myself confused.  Because some days you encourage me, but other days you disappoint me.

Other days, it’s as though something has come over you.  You aren’t acting like yourself.  I begin to wonder which side is really you. You are filled with pride and arrogance, acting like you really know it all and have it all together.  It makes me scared to come to you with my problems…because I’m afraid you’ll just judge me.

It  confuses me to watch you so caught up in the things I get caught up in- money, lust, fame and fortune.  It’s as though the American Dream has got you on a leash.  I thought you talked about bigger things?  I thought you said this world wasn’t your home?

Then why do you seem so comfortable here?  Why does your stuff matter so much?

If you can’t be free of it, than maybe I can’t either.

Even if I look past all that, the hardest thing for me is that you seem to have an opinion about everything.  What I should wear, where I should go, who I should be friends with, what I should eat and drink, how I should vote, what I should believe.  You talk about this great God of love- yet I feel constantly judged by you, not loved.  I feel as though I am under a magnifying glass and you’re picking me apart, never satisfied with who I am.

I want to get closer to you…to try and understand you…but your holier-than-thou attitude reminds me that I can’t get too close.  Maybe I’m not good enough for you.  Which makes me wonder if maybe I’m not good enough for God.  Maybe I’ll never be.

Either way, I’m going to keep watching–waiting to see the real you.  There’s a part of me that wants what you have–but a part of me that’s still confused.  But I’ll be here.  Waiting for you to show me who you really are.  Until then, don’t be surprised if I keep my distance.  I want to get closer, but I have to keep myself safe.   I guess I’m still trying to figure it all out.

And I guess maybe, you are too.  I hope you figure this out soon.  I hope you find yourself. I hope you decide who you really want to be and stick to it.

When you do, come find me. I’ll be waiting. 

Cautiously watching,

The World

Debra Fileta is a Professional Counselor, speaker, and author of the book True Love Dates: Your Indispensable Guide to Finding the Love of Your Life, where she writes candidly about dating, relationships, and how to find true love. You may also recognize her voice from her 150+ articles at Relevant Magazine or Crosswalk.com! She’s also the creator of this True Love Dates Blog!  Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter

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Comments

  1. wow!!! powerful post Debra! thanks for being led of the Holy Spirit and being obedient to put the truth out there in love. may it be my constant desire and the desire of all Christians to be inspired to draw ever closer to the Lord and be led by the Holy Spirit and obedient to God’s will in our lives in every area…Blessings 🙂

  2. It’s hard to hear, but it’s true. Us Christians live a double-life, almost as if we are trying to make the world like us. What you point out so well here is that we shouldn’t focus on doing what we think will please the world; we should do what we know pleases God: love the Lord our God and love our neighbors as ourselves. That’s what the world wants to see, after all. Glad you wrote this, I appreciate your words.

    1. Author

      Thank you, Chris. And I think you’re absolutely right in saying so often we just “WANT TO BE LIKED!” It drives everything from our relationships, to our faith, to how we live our life. But God wants us to be FREE from the approval of man….it’s a challenging thought, to be sure.

  3. Deb,

    God’s got you on a roll! This is one of the two or three best things you’ve done. Challenging, but also uplifting.

    Madoc

    1. Author

      My pastoral heart must be shining through my therapist role 😉

  4. True Debra! Unless the church becomes consumed in Christ Jesus, how will she enter the kingdom of God. Let us clean out the “little foxes” from our vineyards(hearts).

  5. I wish there was a way to copy your blog to my computer like a pdf .

    1. Author

      I appreciate the kind words!! So far, no way to do that….but maybe in the future!! Thanks, though 🙂

  6. Hi Debra, This is excellent, but at the same time others must see we are not perfect. They may feel that we seem to be too perfect for them to attain to. We see king David’s strengths and weaknesses and most importantly we see a loving, gracious God forgiving him again and again. But, I am challenged to raise the bar even higher in my life.

    1. Author

      Absolutely agree with you, Gavin!! We aren’t perfect and we can’t achieve that in this world! But we can’t control how the world views us, we can only control how we live out our lives. And since this blog is mostly read by believers, I was hoping to send a bit of a challenge our way. Thanks for the great interaction!

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