Obviously, being a Christian, I am a little sensitive and defensive about those things. I really hate the way some non-Christians view Christians (stupid, naive, prejudiced, backwards, etc). I was reading some comments on-line (don't you just love the internet?) and with each comment I read my heart kept swelling up in anger and embarrassment.
And then I realized something.
I don't have very many non-Christian friends... They don't know me... I am terrible at building relationships with them (with people in general, but that's another story). Instead of becoming angry about what they say, I should just be their friend. I don't mean evangelize the snot out of them, I mean be their friend. Hang out. Talk. Listen.
I can't deny that there are many mistakes that Christians have committed in the past (myself included), and still continue to do so today. Many Christians spout hate and ignorance instead of love and acceptance.
There's a chapter in Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller called "Confession: Coming Out of the Closet." Here's an excerpt of what he wrote:
"For so much of my life I had been defending Christianity because I thought to admit that we had done any wrong was to discredit the religious system as a whole, but it isn't a religious system, it is a people following Christ; and the important thing to do, the right thing to do, was to apologize for getting in the way of Jesus."
Donald Miller and his friends at Reed College set up a confessional booth on campus and instead of taking confessions from non-Christians, the Christians did the confessing. They apologized for the pain and hurt Christianity had caused, and the shortcomings of the church.
It's a powerful chapter and one that I greatly appreciate for its honesty and humility.
I need to be more humble. I need to love others the way God loves them. I need to spend more time building meaningful relationships with all kinds of people. I need to share the gospel not only with my words but with my actions as well.