Yesterday morning I was sitting in open lab for my digital design class, and as we worked, a friend in my class and I talked. Just like most Monday mornings this semester. Well, I forget just exactly how this came up, but somehow we began talking about the job she had before deciding to come back to school.

She told me that she’d shared a job with another girl, and this girl made it a point to tell her that she is a “Christian.” My friend said this girl had “religious icons” all over their shared work space. You’d think that, especially after putting such an emphasis on being a “Christian,” she would at least make an effort to live it out.

My friend described to me her time of working with this girl… she was constantly belittling my friend, talking about her behind her back, emailing other co-workers and telling them not to send work to her because she didn’t know what she was doing (on their shared email address!)…

I cannot completely express how sick this made me feel, to hear what this girl had put my friend through. I know I have written on this topic so many times, but I really believe it cannot be stressed enough.

The New Living Translation says it like this, “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” (John 13:35)

Hypocrisy is so unattractive. Nobody wants to be around somebody who says one thing and does another. Nobody wants to be like them. When people don’t live what they claim (or.. when they don’t claim what they live..), that turns people off, and I really cannot say that I blame anybody who says they don’t want any part of Christianity because of all the hypocrites they know. It breaks my heart to see and hear people saying this, to know that there are people in the church today who are ruining the church’s reputation and pushing others away.

Honestly, this is a major reason for my decision to not go out and tell people directly that I am a “Christian” when I started at my college. I know this statement can be so easily misinterpreted, so please.. let me explain myself. Because of the way many people view Christians these days, I decided to conduct an experiment of sorts. If people asked me, I would definitely tell them that, “yes, I am a Christian.” But I was not going to go around saying that to everybody I ran into. I wanted to have a chance to escape the stereotypes; I didn’t want to gain a reputation before having the chance to make one for myself. I decided that I did not want to rely on my words to tell others what I believe… I made the choice instead to rely on my actions and the way I live my life. I guess I figured that if these things were not enough to show others that I follow Jesus, then there’s something wrong. If these things were not enough to speak of the One I love, then it would be better for all of us that I not tell anybody that I claimed I was a Christian, because I would be just another hypocrite.

I am not at all advocating not speaking up and sharing what you believe. I’m all for telling others about God and His love. But if we are going to go and share with our words, then we need to make sure that our lives reiterate what we are speaking. Because.. otherwise.. we’re just turning people off. We are not giving them an accurate picture of who Jesus really is.

I can’t even tell you how many people I have come in contact with – even in just these past two semesters – who had an experience with a “Christian” who didn’t live what they said they believed.. I have had the same basic conversation as the one I had with my friend in class yesterday morning.. so many times.

If I am ever living so that my words and my actions don’t line up with each other… I want to know. I want people to come to me and tell me. Please. I don’t want to be a part of pushing people away or turning them off to the beautiful love of God. I want to live to be an example of how Jesus loves us.

I want people to notice that there’s something different about me. I want it to be obvious that I love and follow Jesus. — Through my love and compassion for others, through the way my words and actions match up, through the things I say and don’t say… I want it to be said of me that I am a follower of Christ.