One of my first posts on this blog was about taking a break from the term Christian. In it, I talk about choosing not to self-identify with the label Christian anymore because of the many negative things associated with that label.
As I reread that post, I began to wonder if there was a different way to approach the negative things so often associated with the label Christian. What if, instead of seeking to avoid the name, we sought to redeem it? What if we decided to live in such a way that people began to associate something positive when they heard the label Christian?
Acts 11:26 tells us that "the disciples were called Christians first at Antioch." The church was already established at this point. The surrounding culture gave them the name knowing the reputation of the early believers for caring for and loving those in need around them.
In the 2,000 years since then, Christians have come to be associated with lots of negative. To be sure, we've deserved some of it as our actions, as a whole and as individuals, has been anything but Christ-like. But that doesn't mean it has to stay that way. We can change it.
We can build on the good that does still happen in the name of Christ. There is much good being done in the name of Christ and we should be building on that rather than simply trying to distance ourselves from being called by a name that has incredible history attached to it.
As Christians, we have a rich heritage. Even with all the times we've failed and messed up in representing Christ, we have a history of doing good in the name of Christ. We should be building on that, not running from it.
When we run from it, we leave behind both the good and the bad. A better choice would be to acknowledge the places where we've done wrong and learn from them, and build on the good that has been done.
We serve a God Who is all about redeeming our lives. He takes our failures, our sins, our wrongs, and He redeems them for His glory. I know God loves to and wants to redeem us individually. He does this all the time.
I believe He also wants to do this for those who claim Him name as a whole. God designed us to go through this life and He uses His church as a body. I believe this means He wants to do His redeeming work in us as a whole.
When we choose to run from everything in our past, God can't redeem it for His glory - not the good and not the bad. What if, instead of running from it, we sought to changes people's associations with the label Christians? It will take time, but it won't ever happen if it doesn't start somewhere.