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You’re Christian in God’s Kingdom

You’re Christian in God’s Kingdom

Chinese Christians Chinese Christians(Believers Portal)
ByCCD contributor: Mu Sheng February 21, 2017
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A recent news story surfaced about some Chinese tourists in Japan.  As they were about to leave, they received a call asking them to wait, because a toilet seat had gone missing from one of the rooms and they wanted to know if someone had taken it. It was found in the luggage of a middle-aged woman. Some Chinese complained that they had disgraced China, and said that such people should not be allowed to travel abroad. 

It was not an isolated incident, unfortunately.  Another news related the reaction of Korean sanitation workers cleaning up trash left on the ground by Chinese tourists who participated in a local festival, saying Chinese should be charged a cleaning fee in the future. The reaction back in China was outrage.

People are often stereotyped in society since it is one of the fastest ways to identify a person.  For instance, people with tattoos are considered cold and violent.  We group people with common situations because it's fast and simple. It helps us decide whether we want to spend any time with them or not, even if it's not accurate.

"Bad mannered," "poorly educated," "hick," and "upstart" are labels identified with Chinese as a race due to misdeeds, and so many places do not like Chinese people. Like these, there are also stereotypes applied to faith.  People rarely observe for the truth, and even Confucius judged people on their appearance, so his disciples did the same. People do not want to know about people's faith background, or any theological theory when they interact with a Christian.  The most direct view they have of Christianity is through the actions of Christians, and that is what they use to define what Christianity is.

I led around 30 people only to Christ last year, and I felt that it was especially difficult to preach.  The reason is that many people were not interested in Christian theories.  When I brought up Christianity they started talking about the behavior of a certain Christian, and how he or she would be better even without believing in Jesus. No matter how much I explained that believing in Christ has nothing to do with other people, but only in our relationship with God, they wouldn't listen.

The religion to them was disgraced by somebody's actions. That's why I tell congregations our faith needs to be nationalized when I preach in many places.  It doesn't belong to any one person who casually believes it, but one person's faith can have an impact on that of many people due to the impressions that it can create.

Many preachers today fail to connect believers with other people because while they value their own relationship with Christ, they don't value teachings about God's kingdom. That is not what a perfect Christian looks like. A perfect Christian pursues a relationship with other people as well as with Christ. The simplest understanding of a kingdom is a nation. We are given a new citizenship in Jesus Christ, so our words and deeds represent other people of that nation, just like that middle-aged woman represented every Chinese. We may think our mistakes are ours alone, but other people view them as part of a collective, and that can't be changed. We should pay attention to our nationality because it's the meaning of our nationalized faith. If we fail to connect with others, we cannot testify for Christ.  We should not brag about how spiritual we are, because if Christ is with us others will see it.

Jesus sees each of us as a part of His body, with connections between the different members.  People are called disabled whether they have dysfunctional arms and good legs.  Christ is represented in all our actions, no matter how small, so how others perceive Him depends on how we act.  Paul said that only when we remind ourselves that living is Christ can we live our life as heavenly citizens well.

The reason many people have a poor view of Christianity isn't because Jesus offended them.  He feels wronged and wants to save them, but He has been labeled because of Christians' bad actions.  Spirituality is for oneself, but appearances are for others.  Christ criticized the Pharisees because they valued man's appearances more than the spirit, but He never said we could be dirty outside just because we are clean inside.  People often think this though, because only half the sermon is shared, and as a result, the outward things are forgotten.  Without proper outward actions, people don't care if Christians have good spirits.

People are commonly told not to judge others by their appearance, but people are wont to do so.  It's not normal to tell people not to do so, but we should focus on our own outward appearance instead of trying to force others to change their opinion.  A favorable impression of the church comes from the Christians.  We have a pastor used to have a family that worshiped false gods.  However, she had a Christian neighbor who had a good reputation in the area.  There was a large difference between the woman's mother worshipping false gods and the Christian neighbor.  The mother later asked her to follow her family beliefs, but the pastor refused, saying she would follow her neighbor's God because she felt that He was real.  She not only followed that neighbor's example, but later determined to study theology and become a pastor.  The reason she became a pastor was the good example of her neighborhood auntie.

Nationalized life brings with the symbol of that nationality.  When people look at Christians they should see Jesus, because we are all wearing His nametag.  The key to heaven is in Peter's hands because Peter was the representative of the disciples.  People cannot see Jesus, but they can see Christians like you and me, like they saw Peter.  Don't hinder someone's desire to enter heaven because of your appearance, for if we do we will have truly sinned.

(The author is a preacher in a grass root church in Centual China.)

Translated by: Grace Hubl

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