... to be precise. At one point the term was not a compliment, but an insult. Christians were called cannibals, atheists, and heretics* because of the misunderstandings others had of their beliefs. Jesus, the one these Christians followed, was also called the Christ (i.e. Messiah, the anointed one). So His followers were anointed by the Holy Spirit, who reminded them of everything Jesus taught, everything He did and was. But there was a catch: without the Holy Spirit Himself, a person was helpless to understand the things of God. And so, many spoke ill of the Christians. They did so because they did not understand the truth about themselves, the truth of the gospel, or the truth of Jesus the Christ.
I just heard someone talking about their time at a fellow Christian friend's place, where their friends were trying to sell their home and it wasn't going well. As he left, he noticed that there was an idol in their front foyer; one of those "this is a cool statue from another country that would look cool in our house" kind of things. A neat decoration among many. He got in his car with his wife and was about to leave but the Spirit wouldn't let him. He went back in and asked if he could see a Bible.
I don't recall the exact passage he read (something similar to Exodus 20:1-6, Zechariah 13:2, Ezekiel 20:1-20 or some such I'm sure), but he then encouraged them to get rid of the statue and not consider the flippant possession of an idol a small thing. They said okay and went to bed, but all that night the woman was troubled by the passage he'd shared and the unsolicited advice. The next morning the woman grabbed the idol and threw it away in the garage trash. As she walked into the house, the phone rang with someone wanting to purchase the home. Coincidence, or God's sovereignty meeting man's obedience?
Maybe without knowing it, this man faithfully carried out the desire of the Lord to confront people's sins (Isaiah 58), not in a self-righteous way but in faithful obedience that calls others to follow God in obedience as well. Life can throw us curve balls, and often God allows these difficult times to test us, to see if we will be faithful to Him. Sometimes it's life. But many of us experience a hindrance in our lives because we are treating sin lightly also, even coming to God as we would a non-judgmental best friend (who agrees with us even when our sinful thoughts, words, or deeds would better be served by a needed rebuke). God is clear about His call for faithfulness and the rejection of false gods. There is much to consider here, and we would do well to think about the consequences of our actions toward God, especially as followers of Jesus.
I write to remember the lessons I learn as a Man, Husband, Father, Son, Brother, Pastor, and Friend. As I come to grips with the blackness within me, I am more appreciative of God's grace-filled grip. We all change in the seasons of life. This is my deep well...