For any group or category of people, there are stereotypes. A stereotype is defined as, “a widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or an idea of a particular type of person or thing.” Stereotypes are an interesting concept because most people are likely to say that stereotypes are not true, yet they still exist. Why is that? How do we begin to break those false stereotypes?
Some stereotypes about Christians are that they are hypocrites, judgmental, homophobic, and near perfect. Christians strive to follow the teachings of the Bible but fall short due to sin. This can sometimes make them look like hypocrites. They say one thing but do another. However, a person that believes all Christians to be hypocrites does not understand the concept of forgiveness and grace. We all make mistakes; that is inevitable for all human beings. Being a Christian does not make someone inhuman. Thankfully, Jesus died on the cross for our sins and God offers unwavering grace. Because of this, the stereotype that Christians are hypocrites is untrue. 1 John 1:9 reads, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” Not all Christians are hypocrites.
Refraining from consuming alcohol is another usual stereotype about Christians. Maci Bonacorsi, a junior at Greenville University, has experienced a typical stereotype about Christians first-hand. “I get asked if I drink and I say no! They come back with, ‘Oh, is that for your religion?” she states.
People just assume that she does not drink because it is against her religion. The stereotype that Christians are not allowed to drink is false. The Bible tells us that drinking in moderation is perfectly okay. Ecclesiastes 9:7 reads, “Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for God has already approved what you do.” Although drinking is not prohibited, it can become dangerous for the Christian heart when not consumed appropriately. “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit,” says Ephesians 5:18. Bonacorsi’s testimony about this stereotype is a prime example of a misunderstood truth about Christianity.
As mentioned above, being perfect is another stereotype about Christians. People expect them to never miss church, always do the right thing, read their Bible, among many other things. It almost seems like they can never win. If a Christian is dedicated to reading scripture they are called a Bible thumper, if they claim to be Christians but do not read the Bible, they are a hypocrite. It is expected that all Christians act perfect and upon any mistakes, they are accused of being a fake follower of Christ.
So how do you break a stereotype, and even more specifically, one about Christians? Just like not all teachers bring an apple to school every day, not all Christians are hypocrites, judgmental, homophobic, and near perfect. Actually, nobody is perfect, so it seems crazy to ever expect that in the first place.
The moral of the story is to not group all people of the same religion, race, ethnicity, career, sex, etc. to be the same. Accept people for who they are, not what their label say.
Media by: Shelbi Fisher