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By Ryan Weldon

You should be ashamed of yourself…. That was the overriding thought racing through my mind post game as the adrenaline high waned.

As a young Christian with a quick fuse and an uncontrolled competitive drive, I should have avoided watching my younger brother play high school and college basketball. My emotional intelligence was dangerously low and it showed.

There wasn’t a referee in the world who was safe from my witty and disrespectful insults. Good call, bad call, wrong call, missed call – it didn’t matter. They were wrong, I was right, and you couldn’t prevent me from delivering my opinion powerfully and incessantly. The only way to stop my not-so-constructive feedback was by threatening to throw me out of the game, which happened many times.

I enjoyed the competitive rush, the inflaming of the opposing team’s fans, and the supportive attention from friendly fans who were entertained.

So why was I ashamed?

The defining moment for me arrived when it became very obvious my brother was embarrassed by my behavior. The negativity associated with my presence had repelled the very person I desired to support the most. In short, I had sabotaged my purpose.

Unfortunately, many of you can relate to this story. As Christians, we’ve become so unattractive to the world that we’ve undermined the very reason we exist. Jesus says,

“Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage.

“Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand – shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:13-16, MSG).

Jesus tells us in this passage from the Sermon on the Mount that our purpose is to bring out the “God-flavors” and the “God-colors” in the world. We are here so the world can experience God and see the glory of God.

What does that mean? It means Christians should be the most appealing, attractive, loving, and accepting community of people the world has ever seen. To the lost people we’re trying to reach, our actions communicate who Jesus is. If we are negative, judgmental, critical, and apathetic, we will paint the wrong picture of who Jesus is to the world or let the wrong people influence the world about who Jesus is.

According to ChurchLeaders.com, here are a few of the things Americans tend to believe the church is:

  • An organized religion with a political agenda
  • Judgmental and negative
  • Dominated by males and oppressive of females
  • Homophobic

Although we are all in different stages of our spiritual growth and although we may have good intentions, as I did in the bleachers, we must mature. Reading the Bible or this article doesn’t change your past or current reality, but it does remove your excuse to claim ignorance and remain the same. This is a call for the representatives of Jesus to rise up and become positive influencers!

The world condemns us to a list of qualities counter to the example of Jesus, which means we must be intentional about the individual example we set and be aware of how we are perceived in our personal circle of influence.

If you do this well, your positive influence will outlast your physical presence. And even when you’re not around, people will see Jesus when they think of you.

About The Author

Ryan Weldon

Ryan Weldon is currently on staff as the Music Director at Journey Church of the Open Bible in Des Moines, Iowa. He is married to his high school sweetheart, Regina. The Weldons have one son, one daughter, and one well-behaved dog. Ryan is passionate about leadership development, about showing people how to get out of their own way and realize their God-given potential.