“I have more faith in an atheist who helps an old lady across the street, than a believer who pretends not to see her because he is late for mass.”
I found this statement written in the About Me section of one of my acquaintance’s Facebook profile. Every time I read it I am hit with a twinge of conviction because I know that it was spoken in truth. More than that, I know that in this day and age, it is true. As Christians we are supposed to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth. We are supposed to reflect God’s great power and mercy in our actions and deeds. But all too often we get caught up in our own life journey and our own sin struggle and we forget–no refuse–to remember the charge that Christ has given us.
“Become doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves with false reasoning. For if anyone is a hearer of the word, and not a doer, this one is like a man looking at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself, and off he goes and immediately forgets what sort of man he is. But he who peers into the perfect law that belongs to freedom and who persists in it, this man, because he has become, not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, will be happy in his doing it.” (James 1:22-25).
We are called to love as He has loved. We are called to live as selflessly as Christ lived. We are called to give the shirts of our backs and to turn the other cheek. We are called to serve the poor and protect the widows and orphans of the world. We are called to love our neighbors and our enemies. Christ endured the greatest pain and the most heinous circumstances to save us from ourselves. And yet we often cannot find the time to share His love with others. It has become an inconvenience to reach out to the lost and offer them the Light that only too recently has saved us, as if we did something to earn it that they did not. We have grown selfish. We have grown lazy and complacent.We don’t look any different than the rest of the world, so how can we expect to be effective Believers if we don’t stand out among the crowd?
“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.” (Matthew 5:13).
If atheists are considered more Christlike than Christians we have not only failed our mission, we have failed our Lord. We have lost our saltiness, our effectiveness. We have dimmed down the Light that should radiate from our very being. No wonder the world has lost its faith in Christianity. We’ve given them a reason to.
In response to a comment received on this post: It’s not good enough to be “good”. We all hold the potential to do what society deems right. It is the purpose behind our actions that should set us apart. We do good to glorify God and not man. We do good because Christ calls us to. We do good in order to lead others to the Truth, not because it makes us feel good or because it is the “right” thing to do. If we do good for goodness’ sake then we are no different than any non-Christian. We must live with a purpose and passion that points to our Saviour.