I'm a better Christian than you


As a child I thought our family were very good Christians, far better than most.

Why?

Because we don't own a TV, I always wore skirts or dresses, hat on Sundays, we read the Bible daily and we sung hymns around the piano in the evening, never swore, never went to the movies, didn't drink alcohol, didn't listen to modern music and unlike all my friends I wasn't allowed to cut my hair short, wear ear-rings or go to parties. To a young child, these all "ticked the boxes" that made for a "good" Christian family.

But ticking the boxes does not make for a good Christian. These can and sometime be just appearances. It is how we behave and what is in our hearts everyday that counts. 

I see this, perhaps not intentionally in Blogland.  I am a stay-at-home-mum (tick), I home school (tick), I only wear skirts (tick), we don't own a TV (tick), we only read good books (tick), we read the bible daily (tick), I have lots of children with more on the way (tick) . . . and all those who do not tick all these boxes are not as Christian (godly) as those that do.  

My aunt (Helen) was spinster. She was born in 1923 and died at the age of 76 in 2000. She lived with her father (my grandfather) until he past away in 1974. She was an intelligent well educated woman (who went to university when it was not popular or common for women to attend), who travel the world and was leading in her field of physiotherapy with her work with children with polio and the disabled generally. She kept a wonderful home, a great cook, owned a cat and loved to weave (and many of her nieces and nephews, including myself, stayed with her). To some, she certainly didn't tick all the boxes that make for a "good" Christian woman, in fact she might even be seen as a modern career woman.  However to all those that knew her, she was one of the most Christian women I ever knew and I wish I had listened to her far more. 

Everything she did, what she said, how she behaved were as a Christian woman should. Through her work as a physiotherapist, all those who knew her, knew her love for the Lord.  It wasn't because she didn't have a TV that made her a good Christian, it was the life she led (following what the Lord set out for her) and how she treated others that made her the woman she was. 

We need to remember this when we "tick the boxes" and look at others who don't tick the same boxes. It doesn't make for a lesser Christian at all. In fact, some of those who "tick all the boxes" (or think they do) need to be careful not to be proud, arrogant or boastful that they think they are better than others. A poor woman working hard in a factory for her children (struggling to spend enough time with them) is perhaps a far better Christian in her simple faith, than those who have chosen to remain at home.  My mother would have to be another example, a Christian lady who loves the Lord so dearly but wasn't a stay-at-home mother but what a wonderful homemaker she was (balancing both with such skill).

Three little boys who loved their aunt dearly, she may not have had children or married, but she did spoil her nieces and nephews and perhaps the grandmother none of us had. Taken in the 1960s.
Its important not to set ourselves on pedestals and look at others who appear to be "not as Christian" in their choices and assume that they are in fact lesser Christians than you or I. If I described my aunt to you and her career, some would assume that she had been a very modern woman, perhaps of the feminist movement. No, how very wrong you would have been.  My aunt was no feminist, she was caring, loving and most of all, trusted in the Lord for all things and this came through in the work she did for others.  The path she took and likewise the path my mother (as a school teacher) took, are paths that the Lord choose for them. That's all we can do, follow in the paths that the Lord has asked us to follow - its called having faith.  

Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord,
and He will lift you up. 
James 4:10

Comments

  1. Well written Jo! It is a daily walk isn't it, just to walk with the Lord, giving thanks to Him for everything. Jesus summed it up by saying Judge not, or you will be judged and to look at the speck in my own eyes before I look at any others. When I have found myself being judgmental or looking at other peoples wrongs, the Holy Spirit reminds me of these scriptures and before not too long when I have looked at my own logs I certainly view the world differently. I am no better, just a sinner saved by grace...AMEN!! Thank you Jesus. xxx

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    1. Completely agree and perhaps that is why I find some blogs a bit sad as they are very judgemental of others who do things different (of course they don't know why as we don't reveal everything on blogs).

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  2. I heard a statement the other day - there is a vast difference between a 'good Christian home' and a home that models 'Christian Grace'. there is a fine line between legalism - an easy opt out for maintaining a set of values, and laxness, where nothing is criticized. Grace is the key, but hard for the parent to learn fast enough to keep up with the demands of the child...

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    1. You summed it up well and those with that grace don't "preach" to others quite like those who think they are better Christians than most.

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  3. My opinion is that Christians who tick the boxes show what a great way to live a 'religious' life that people laugh at! The kinda life that people don't want to see who their God is! God told us to live in this world but not be a part of it. How are we living in this world if we can't relate to those who are in it?
    Religious Christians are the biggest hypocrites of all!!!!!!

    So pleased to hear your story of your Aunt who showed you the true values of Christianity! :-)

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    1. Thanks Sandy. I find this with some blogs and it feels like they are pointing their finger at you and find every fault (when they really don't know you). Im sure for some women it is very soul destroying.

      My Aunt was a wonderful gentle woman who lived her faith quietly.

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  4. It's all a question of what's driving these things. If I eschew immoral R-rated movies because it makes me a better Christian than you, then this is little more than cold legalism and spiritual pride. (Mind you, that doesn't make it right for me to watch them). If, however, I simply don't watch them because they hold no attraction to me; because they would be offensive to my Lord and Saviour, then this should not be put down. The Corinthians were especially proud of their Christianity--after all they had lots of gift to demonstrate the power of it, but it was all about them. Paul wrote in his second epistle: For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. (2 Cor. 10:12). You point, however, is well taken. There are somethings that are perceived as being Christian but are simply my own personal exercise. To another, in a different context or culture, it really means nothing. Either way, we should make straight paths for our own feet, not everyone elses (Heb. 12:13). Nick

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    1. Thanks Nick, its a pity you don't live closer so I could ask your advice more often:) Perhaps there are people who say they are Christian but when you start to look its not quite as it appears, but they are quite to judge others.

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  5. My husband grew up in a "good christian home". He and his two brothers are carrying the scars to this day. His mother was darn near perfect. She always wore long dresses, didn't cut her hair, stayed home. She always made sure the boys and their father were properly dressed for church. If the boys brought something home that she deemed inappropriate, she ripped it away and burned it in the burn barrel. Some of my husbands ugliest memories are of church mornings. If anything went wrong she would break into a screaming, swearing fit. If one of the boys came downstairs without a tie on or stains on their trousers she would go into a tirade. It was all about appearances! My husband recalls her crying and shouting all the way to church. The minute they stepped out of the car they put on their "good christian" church faces. His dad liked to drink but it all had to be done in secret behind the shed. She knew and didn't care so long as no one from church found out. Same with smoking. I could go on and on.
    My grandmother on the other hand was much more quiet in her faith. She lost her husband at a young age and had to raise her child alone. She worked at a shoe factory her entire adult life to provide. This was back in the 1930's. She never had much but never complained. What I remember from her is complete acceptance. It never mattered what I wore, my hairstyle, trouble that I had been in. She just loved me no matter what, all of the time.
    We were very poor when I was a child. However, we always had the most magical, beautiful, gift filled christmases! I never questioned how this was managed as I truly believed in the wonder of it all. As an adult, I learned that all of these Christmases were because of my dear grandmother! All year long she would gather things for our family of four children. On Christmas Eve after we went to bed my dad would drive to her house and get all of our gifts. My dear grandma had a great faith. But she was quiet about it. I know that she prayed for us alot. I feel her prayers yet today. She showed her true faith in her love and acceptance. This to me is what christianity is meant to be!

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    1. Susan, I feel so sorry for your husband, what a terrible example of Christianity. I hope his experiences now are much improved and he has seen the type of faith that your grandma had.

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Blessings.

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  6. I subscribe to a lot of homemaking/homeschool blogs but have not detected this attitude you describe. Sometimes someone will ask a question like, "Why do you have so many children" and the blogger will give a reply stating her beliefs, but I don't see them pushing it on others; it might be the way it is perceived by the reader. I agree there can be a set of rules to follow while in the heart there is no love, and I have seen this a lot in non-believers as well.

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    1. Perhaps because many of those blogs you read are very similar to your own e.g. you homeschool so you are all on the same page so to speak. I sometimes feel for those younger women who do not homeschool (for whatever reason) as they are often made to feel that it is a wrong decision, when in fact it isn't. I have avoided mentioning in some posts that I have 2 children (or that I believe in vaccination) as the results can be upsetting.

      My post was a reminder for Christian women to be tolerant of others who do things differently as those differences are no less unbiblical (even though I know some would argue that they were).

      I wasn't setting out to cause upset with anyone with this post.

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  7. I've found through experience that when someone judges another Christian for not being as righteous as they are themselves, the Lord tends to teach them a lesson of some kind or another to bring them back to a point of humility. We all have our weak points - given to us to keep us from becoming proud.

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  8. Very well written. I love read blogs about good Christian home, but found several of them, though enjoyable to read, can be very judgemental on women who work outside the home like myself. Thank you for bringing a different perspective on what being a true Christian is.

    Visit me:
    LeeAnne, Style N Season
    http://stylenseason.blogspot.com

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    1. Thanks LeeAnne for stopping by :)) I completely understand the thing about judgemental blogs about women who work out side the home, I too work and have been targeted by them. Its very sad.

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  9. Yep, well said. God certainly doesn't care if we "tick all the boxes." The only "box" that matters is whether we acknowledge Jesus as Lord abd live our lives accordingly. Maybe that means, for example, homeschooling your kids or sending them to a public school. Do it according to the Lord's leading!

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