Occupational Hazards

occupational-hazardsBlessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you [falsely] because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven. Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you.  –Matthew 5:01-12

I just reviewed a survey taken on a college campus.  As part of the survey college students were asked of their religious affiliation.  Over 40% replied “none.”  We know that many of these young adults were raised as Christians and Catholics.  Now they have either left the faith or are too embarrassed to admit to being Christian.

Why would college-aged students be afraid to admit that they are Christians?  Maybe, it is because they would face the ever growing hazards of being a Christian.  Maybe they would sense the feeling of persecution that Jesus spoke of in the beatitudes?

What are the insults and persecutions that have become the occupational hazards of Christianity?

1. You will be called a hypocrite.  They will imply that you say one thing and do another.  They will imply that you talk a good game, but fall short in your actions.

2. You will be called judgmental.  They will say you are quick to find faults in others and but downplay your own faults.  They will say that you are prideful and think down on others who don’t share your opinions.

3. You will be called anti-gay. They will accuse you of being intolerant. You will be accused of having a contempt for gays and lesbians and condemn their lifestyle.

4. You will be called out of touch.  Your friends will think that you are old fashioned, unintelligent and anti-science.

5. You will be called too political.  As a Christian, your friends will consider you a right-winged, tea party conservative.  They will say that you are living in the past.

Is it any wonder college students won’t admit to being Christian?  They will fear persecution, ridicule and insults.  It is just safer to respond “none” when asked.

How did these perceptions become prevalent today?  Is there any truth to these accusations?  Have some Christians caused this to happen?

What about you?

Are you guilty of a holier than thou attitude? Do you judge those whose opinion differs from yours?  Are you intolerant of gays and lesbians?

Each of us must do our part to overcome these perceptions. Even Pope Francis warns us not to be arrogant and judge others.

“Whoever believes themselves just and judges others and scorns them is corrupt and a hypocrite. Arrogance compromises every good action, empties prayer, distances from God and others.” –Pope Francis

So, what can we do about it?

First, we must walk our talk.  We must live our faith and not say one thing and do another.  We must recognize our flaws.  We are sinners too!

We must seek and find the good in others.  Let’s not point out their faults. Instead let’s view them as God’s children and capable of following Jesus.

We should show love and compassion for everyone.  Remember hate the sin love the sinner and act.

We need to be informed and not fear engaging on important issues. But, we need to do our homework!

We should seek to find solutions not only by giving our opinion but respecting the opinions of others.

Let’s help each other avoid the occupational hazards of Christianity. We do it by living a life of faith.  We need to be humble and kind, judge less and love more.

Instead of knowing us by our faults, they must know we are Christians by our love!  Let’s each do our part.


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