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Michelle Gunnin wrote to say that she’d had a conversation with her millennial son.  They were talking about world events and refugees. They were talking about the word represent. He said, “I’m embarrassed to even say I was raised a Christian these days.  The Christians are…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

Michelle Gunnin wrote to say that she’d had a conversation with her millennial son.  They were talking about world events and refugees. They were talking about the word represent.

He said, “I’m embarrassed to even say I was raised a Christian these days.  The Christians are doing things that are opposite of what Jesus says.” 

Michelle’s response was, “That’s exactly how I feel much of the time. The bride of Christ does not represent him well. 

She went on to say, “I’ve had several bride dreams in recent days. The bride in my dreams is not beautiful. She is more like the bride of Frankenstein…parts and pieces chopped up and put together in a gruesome attempt to create a bride of our own making. It’s a similar theme – the misrepresentation of Christ.”  

Michelle expounded,

“So many Christians are full of division, hate, and fear.  Around my lunch table, and in my Bible study group I find myself alone in my concern for refugees.  Friends are leery of me. I find myself separated from the Bride of Christ. I have great concern, yet I remain largely silent.

I have only found one place (though I am sure there are others) that I think is accurately representing Jesus in this day.  That place is AIM.  Now I know AIM isn’t perfect, no organization is, but what I see there that stands out is the commitment to express love.  There is no qualification of who we love, or even how we love.  It is a simple…GO.  LOVE… in Jesus Name.

No matter if they are refugees, or orphans, or prostitutes, or johns, or disabled, or any other person considered unlovable. 

How we represent ranges from washing feet, to providing safe places, to sitting and praying together.  It doesn’t matter what faith, what race, what gender, what nationality.  It is inspiring to me really.  To watch and now be a part of an organization whose legacy is to represent.” 

So that leaves us with a question – who do you represent? If you’re a member of a sports team, you wear a uniform. Uniforms are an easy way to identify who you represent. As the graduate of a college, you become an alumnus – you join a club of sorts and represent the college.

If you’ve become a member of a church, you represent them. You represent all that people may love or hate about church.

But do you represent Christ? And if so, how do you represent him?  Do you represent his compassion? His love? Jesus put it this way, “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” (Luke 6:46)

He’s on the move around the world and he’s asking us if we’ll join him, if we’ll represent him to those who have never heard his name or understood his desire to set them free. Will you?

Comments (17)

  • There are so many voices shouting out where one must stand, for or against whatever. It is refreshing and mind and heart altering to actually know friends who have feet in the water on the island of Lesvos to give us the view from the front.

  • I love what AIM is about, but it is worth noting that I am also NOT embarrassed to say I am a Christian. Yes, there are kooks out there in and outside the Kingdom, but the majority of Christians I know and meet in my travels (so far to 80 nations) re-present Him beautifully. The media and the discontent love to highlight the kooks, and yes, in our own Bible Studies we will meet a few, but please, don’t buy the message that is being repeated over and over, but doesn’t match up with what is true. Most Christians are not ’embarassing’, and that even includes those who think differently than us. If we can’t love each other in our own midst, I question what message we are broadcasting to the world. “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love among one another.” John 13:35

  • Jesus. I’d be confident people would say Ryan represented Jesus if I died today. I stand for causes and fight for justice but it all comes down to this… I’m representing Jesus.

  • Melinda, I watch my son watching the church. He used to be a part of it, but walked away in his college years. I long for him to see Christ represented. Unfortunately, he mainly sees the hypocrisy and the people who worship God and then curse others out of the same mouth. It greatly saddens my heart that he is having trouble finding those who are committed to be Christ to the least of these, or even to each other many times. It seems that the enemy is parading the kooks and that the ones who represent well are quietly doing the work in the background….and thank God for that, I just pray that one day my son will see some of them.

  • The enemy definitely does parade the kooks. I will pray for your son. And I pray that your son will ‘seek’ what is worthwhile. If he knocks and seeks, I believe with all my heart the Lord will show himself and some of His friends to him. But I do think a lot does ride on what the heart is seeking and where he is looking. My heart goes out to you too, so I will pray for God to strengthen and encourage you as you carry this prayer burden.

  • I am done representing Him only when it’s convenient to me. Only when I feel like it. Only when I “feel” filled up. I say no more! I’ll represent Him in the mess, in the brokenness. I give up convenience and give Him full control. I just want to do what the Father is doing, and nothing else!
    Thanks Seth!

  • I wrote these two questions in my journal: ‘Do you represent His compassion? Do you represent His love?’ I already know the answer…I’m not anywhere near His best in those areas of my walk. I am praying for His grace and strength to grow more like Him in love and compassion.

  • Michelle I am sad about this for your son. In the last couple of years the Lord has shown me about something called “the beam removal process”. He showed me that too many Christians are trying to remove the beams in other peoples eyes, all the while thinking they have the speck. The opposite is actually true because we have been so deceived. We must FIRST allow God to get the beam out of our eye AND THEN we CAN actually effectively help those around us and we stop looking like hypocrites. This IS a PROCESS. We must give God permission to do this or what we see in so many churches will just continue the same. Judgment MUST begin in the House of the Lord and the word judgment actually means a decision. We must choose Christ and allow Him to show us everything about US. When we work with Him and allow Him to lovingly show us, we begin to transform because He will use His living and active Word to do that in our lives. The Lord also posed a question to me recently….and it was basically this: How can you affect a world that you try to stay free of? Wow! Talk about getting to the root of something! I have avoided the world because it’s rough and can make me so uncomfortable and didn’t realize that’s what I actually was doing. And then He reinforced to me that, Cheryl, “you” CAN’T love the world on your own…BUT through ME you absolutely can and I MUST get my strength and ability from Him to do this. I have now changed my whole perspective on how I was going through my own life as a believer. He chastises us with love. From anyone else I might not have received that as well…..I am SO THANKFUL TO HIM because I needed to hear it!

  • Michelle’s statement, “I find myself separated from the Bride of Christ” resonates with me. I feel alone and must rely on the LORD’s promise that He will be with me.

    Thank you both for your honesty.

  • I am part of the generation that grew up in the 60’s. We started out with lofty ideals which have metamorphosed over the years into caring for no one but ourselves. I have given up trying to convince my Christian peers that many of their stances on immigration, politics, those outside the church, etc., are anything but Christian ideals. My husband and I recently had a conversation with a young twenty-something who considers himself an atheist. ” I don’t like Christians”, he said, “but I like that “red letter” Jesus.” He then proceeded to quote portions of the sermon on the mount to illustrate his position.
    When did we stop following the words of Christ and his teachings? That’s when we started losing the world and began losing our faith as well.

    • Yeah – it’s broken. Richard Rohr has been helpful to me in distinguishing between the Jesus I read about in the gospels and the one represented in churches.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.

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