'I still believe in God, but I'm done with Christians'

It is an increasingly common refrain from my Christian friends, “I still believe in God, but I am done with Christians.” A friend recently said to me, “We’re seeing an increase in people leaving the church in order to protect their faith.”

Isn’t that a crazy thought!

One of the most destructive elements to modern-day Christianity is the notion of flawless Christianity. Christianity has gone from being a life postured vertically – focussed on loving God and serving people, finding sufficiency in him – to a game of horizontal “one-up-manship” where Christians are judged by the social group and society on things like sin, language, addiction, leadership, friendships, marriage, relationships, parenting … and if you’re found wanting in any of these areas, you’re made to feel as though you’re less of a Christian, unworthy as a Christian or a moral failure and outcast from the church.

If I think through my experience of church, I’ve heard a lot more preached about the flawless Christian than I have about the flawed Christian. I fear being told about the positive realities of a life devoted to Jesus and the fact that trials come, but these are solely related to tough circumstances, not tough emotions. Or victory is only won when the person experiencing difficulties overcomes it with positive outcomes (healing, new job, restored relationships, etc.). But where people make missteps with character, values and morals, for these people we reserve the greatest of injustice and the anti-biblical response of being cast out, cut off and demoralised.

Why is it that tough times are only celebrated when you have victory over circumstances? Why don’t we extend the hand of grace and kindness for waning character and values? And how does God treat people when they had failings of character and values?

One of the most destructive elements to modern-day Christianity is the notion of flawless Christianity.

Let me tell you about three friends of mine.

My first friend sleeps with a different woman each night. Some would think he has an unbelievable life. He’s also probably the best leadership and wisdom writer I know from a Christian leadership perspective. In fact, all the books in the world would not contain his insight and understanding of wisdom and leadership. I listen to him more than any other author I know. Honestly, this guy is unbelievably wise and godly and has changed so many people’s lives. He’s not married and sleeps around, but it is unquestionable that God uses him. His name is Solomon.

I’ve got another friend who’s probably one of the most godly people I know. I mean this guy is a man after God’s own heart. Yep, one of “those kind” of guys. I mean, he did fall in love with another man’s wife and slept with her. He then arranged a hit on her husband but after he was killed, started a family with her and had a brilliant marriage, and their children went on to do unbelievable things. He truly is ordained by God for great things and I mean it when I say, he is a man after God’s own heart. He’s just such a great Christian guy. His name is David.

I’ve got one other friend too. Now, this guy is probably the greatest church planter I’ve ever known. I mean honestly, I am not sure the world can measure his impact and the role he’s played in building the church. His writings are unbelievable, his understanding of leadership and communication is second to none. In fact, most people would put his writing on the same level as Jesus, I kid you not! He has a somewhat checkered past though. I mean he’s never been sentenced, but he’s a self-confessed mass murderer – men, women, children, and all of them were Christian. But in his defence, he did all his killing before he became a Christian. Anyway, I mean this guy is amazing. Like I said, most people would equate his writings to that of Jesus, and today most of the modern church is built on him. I’m a huge fan. His name is Paul.

God does not look for nor use flawless Christians but rather, flawed Christians.

It would appear to me that God does not look for nor use flawless Christians but rather, flawed Christians. And that is the faith that I aspire to live – a faith that realises I am flawed, but that God can still use me. I choose to love the flawed and avoid the traps and games of the flawless. I choose to live a life of grace, mercy and love. That is the life I choose.

Mike Gore is the Co-Founder of Charitabl – an app-based giving platform for charities and not-for-profits – and Co-Founder of FaceMail gift delivery service. Mike was formerly CEO of Open Doors.