A negative, joyless Christian is a contradiction in terms

02/24/2014 4:00 PM

02/25/2014 7:02 PM

DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: You’ll probably be offended by this, but I don’t think I’ve ever met a Christian I really liked. Most of the ones I’ve met seem so negative and unfriendly and out of touch with real life. Why would anyone (including me) ever want to be like them? — Z.K.

DEAR Z.K.:

If all Christians were like this, then I couldn’t blame you; I wouldn’t want to be like them, either! And unfortunately, this is the picture some people have of Christians.

But most aren’t like this — not at all. In fact, I’ve met very few sincere Christians who were even remotely like this. In reality, some of the most caring, compassionate and outgoing people you’ll ever meet are men and women who deeply love both God and other people.

A negative, joyless Christian is a contradiction in terms, because when we give our lives to Christ, his spirit comes to live within us — and he gives us joy. The Bible says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23).

I’m sorry your experience has been so negative — not just because it’s given you a bad impression of Christians, but because it’s turned you away from Christ. But if you actually had met Jesus, do you think he would have been like this? No, certainly not. People flocked to him, because they knew he cared for them and wanted to help them.

This is why I urge you to look at Jesus as he is presented in the pages of the New Testament. When you do, you’ll discover not only that he was a unique person, but that he was God in human flesh, and that he will change your life as you open your heart and life to him.

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