What if certain Christian values we equate with following Jesus aren’t actually Christian?
Like it or not, culture shapes our picture of Jesus.
If we don’t identify false stigmas and misconceptions, we will devote time and energy cultivating a virtue that isn’t Christian.
Fake Christian Values
I hate disclaimers, but what follows deserves one. The virtues below aren’t evil. I’m not asking you to avoid them. I am asking you to think seriously about what it means to walk in the footsteps of Jesus. Here are eight Christian virtues that aren’t really Christian.
I can’t help but wonder what we would think about Jesus in modern-day America.
We’re talking about a guy who called one of his closest friends Satan. He talked disrespectfully to religious leaders. Nice wouldn’t be the first word I would use.
Was Jesus kind? Absolutely. Kindness is a fruit of the Spirit. Here’s the problem, though. Niceness and kindness aren’t interchangeable.
Nice is cheap. It costs you nothing. Nice avoids tension and always strokes your ego, even if Ray Charles could see you’re wrong.
Niceness is NOT next to godliness.
Kindness, however, tells you what you need to hear. It won’t stroke your ego because you’re awesome. Kindness loves you too much for that. The seeds of kindness are planted in the soil of love. From this rich earth comes real tension. But the end result is a fruitful life.
I wonder how many friends Jesus would have in an overly sensitive culture where ego stroking is a national pastime?
I know Jesus would infuriate me. For much of my life, I equated niceness with godliness. Good friends would never call me out, I thought. Good Christians wouldn’t either.
But I struggle to equate niceness with godliness when I read the Gospels. Maybe we need more Christian like Jesus. Maybe we need more friends like Jesus. I know I do.