I was scrolling through my Kindle app the other day looking for a book to read. I came across a book that I had downloaded but never read. The title of the book was "Jesus in the Mirror: Live a Life that Truly Reflects Him." In the introduction the authors were talking about how some Christians were perceived by unbelievers. They used the acronym J.A.M.E.S. to refer to the "Christians" who leave a lasting negative impression on those around them. People who are Judgmental, Arrogant, Mean-spirited, Exclusive and Self-righteous.
Unfortunately most of us know too many Christians who behave in a manner
contrary to God's standard of grace, truth and love. They sit up on their pedestals looking down on everyone around them thanking God that they aren't like "so and so". They know the truth and they're all too happy to beat it across the head of anyone who is living contrary to it. Many of these "Christians" have overly righteous views of themselves. They pick certain Scriptures from the Bible to drive down their point but sadly they have missed the deep truth of God's love letter. They're in church every time the doors are opened but there is no spiritual maturity in their life. They become hyper focused on putting someone in their place that they ignore time studying God's Word for their own growth. No matter if you've been a Christian since you were 5 or you just became a Christian last year at age 45, there is so much that we don't yet know about God and His love for us. None of us have arrived to the level of all-knowing.
Some of the most precious times in my relationship with Christ have been those quiet moments of reading Scripture and feeling the Holy Spirit speak to my heart and soul. Those times when I don't have an agenda or a point to make. I find that when I get busy and don't make my quiet times a priority, it's easier to get angry and agitated with others. When I live in my own strength I can start being a J.A.M.E.S.
I think that this most recent election season brought out the J.A.M.E.S. in lots of Christians. There was so much arrogance and downright meanness that it was appalling. I can only imagine how it grieved the heart of God to see His children behaving in such hateful ways towards each other. Some of the meanest are still justifying their behavior. They are still focused on proving to their friends and neighbors that they are and always will be right.
Please tell me how important being right is if it causes division within your family? Is being right worth damaging relationships with your Christian brothers and sisters? Is being right worth alienating your neighbors? Is being right worth damaging your testimony? To some being right is what it's all about. The satisfaction they get from bullying others and quieting every other person's voice is what they live for. They are extremely difficult to have discussions with because they cannot hear anyone but themselves. They justify their actions as having good judgment and discernment of God's Word. But when we spend our lives condemning others we prevent them from hearing the message we're bringing.
"If others are to see Jesus in our lives, we won’t reflect a condemning spirit. There will always be those who take issue with what the Bible says. They will either thumb their noses at the Word and call the Bible outdated or they will bend and twist the text to justify their stances or behavior. But no matter how adverse people might be to what the Bible says, Christians who desire to reflect Jesus should remember that we’re called to treat others with love and grace. Some unbelievers may not accept Jesus because they don’t want to change the way they are living. But they should never reject Jesus because of the way we share the message."
Let's shine the light of Christ as we interact with people and refuse to be a J.A.M.E.S.
I am a Christian, a wife, a mom, a VBS crafter, a coupon clipper, a thrift store shopper, a football fan, a cook, a student of the Bible and an avid reader.