The man said, “They are Christians and are to behave better than that.” Then he drove home his assertion with this punch, “They are acting nothing like Jesus.”
I wish his words were not valid. But unfortunately, they are.
There is a foundational misunderstanding most people have about the followers of Jesus. They think we are good people who found a religious teacher we like and are now trying to act like him.
The opposite is actually true.
Christians recognize they are bad people. They know they break God’s rules and commit what the Bible calls sin. They openly admit their life is a mess and do not have it all together. Most of the time, they acknowledge that they are completely awful people. Their hearts, thoughts, and actions are not what they want them to be, let alone what God desires. We are truly nothing like Jesus.
That is why we need Jesus. We do not primarily adhere to him because we think he is a good teacher but rather because he is a savior. He did not come to make good people better but to save bad people from their sins through his sacrificial death on the cross.
Once we follow Jesus, we are to become more like him, but that will take a lifetime of transformation. And even when we reach spiritual maturity, there will never be a time when we do not need the grace found in Jesus. We will still struggle to do all God requires, but we find forgiveness along the journey.
I am not a Christian because I am a good person with great virtue and noble character. I am a Christian because I am a horrible person who wants to serve a loving, gracious, forgiving God.