I could tell early on that Stuart wasn’t the average Christian blogger. Absent from his site are the worn and tired “fire and brimstone” rants frequently found on other religious blogs. Instead you’ll find the ramblings of an earnest man who follows his heart and genuinely cares about people – one who’s unhappy about how little of the Christ remains in Christianity today.
Awhile back I asked Stuart if he’d be willing to share his knowledge about Jesus the Man. He agreed, and offered as well to contrast how Christ treated people with how many of today’s Christians behave. Here’s what he wrote:
I was asked by Jerome to write a guest blog on who Jesus is to me. I’m a follower of Christ and I work in full time in ministry as a missionary that reaches out to youth in the Pacific Northwest. I’m not an expert and I only speak from my own experiences and my heart.
So who is Jesus?
I’ll start this whole discussion with an apology and an explanation. I believe that most of your preconceived notions about Christ are probably untrue. That’s not to say that Christianity hasn’t done its job to hurt you and leave a bad taste in your mouth. I’m not denying any bad experiences you may have had at the hands of churches or Christians. I want to make a distinction between who Jesus Christ is and what the church has become. I’m not saying that all Christians or churches are bad or damaging. I’m just saying that many of them are.
So, I am sorry. It should not be this way. I am sorry for those who have acted judgmental and pious. I’m sorry for their lack of compassion and kindness. I’m sorry for their arrogance and bigotry. I’m sorry that they were mean or hateful. I’m sorry because that is not who Jesus was or taught or advocated. It was not even close. Many of you have been wronged and that was never how it was meant to be.
Jesus was simply love. He was sacrifice, compassion, grace and forgiveness. He reached out to the broken and meek. He loved those that had been rejected by the world.
Jesus to me is my life. The first twenty-two years of my existence, I lived for myself. I was raised in a Christian home; raised with plenty of religion. None of that meant much to me. I knew the stories about who Jesus was and I liked them, but there was this disconnect between the people I saw at church and the Jesus I read about in the Bible. He lived a life of passion and purpose. He was the son of God and followed the Lord with all his being. He came to save the lost, to free the enslaved, and to heal the broken. He loved us so much that he was willing to lay down his life – that life made sense to me; it excited me. However, that wasn’t the life I saw modeled by those at church. I lived a good life. Followed rules, went to church on Sundays and I was incredibly bored.
Then one day, I decided that if Christ was real, if he did indeed call me to follow Him, I had to take a step. So I prayed, telling Jesus, I’d do whatever he wanted. From that moment, my life has never been the same. It has led me on a journey to invest in people, to serve people, to love people. I have learned that my life isn’t my own. Through Christ, I have found purpose and meaning. I have found joy and contentment. It has changed who I am as a husband, a father, friend, and a son. He has healed wounds that life has dealt me. I have known love I never thought possible. Life has become more of an adventure than merely an existence. Though, it has not always been easy, I wouldn’t change a thing.
I challenge you to read one of the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke or John in the Bible). Look at who Jesus was. Look at how he treated people. How he loved. Look at the story of God’s compassion for all people (not just a select few).
I’m not here trying to convert anyone (though if anyone of you are interested, I’d love to talk more with you about it). That is not my intent. I would love for you to see the difference between who Christ is and how many Christians act today. Jesus was and is a revolutionary of love seeking to save the lost, the broken, the hurting, and abandoned. For me to follow His life is to take this message of healing and redemption to the world around me.
Thank you again Stuart. I appreciate the time you’ve taken to share.