I was perusing some blogs tonight, and came across describing a situation. The blogger had ventured to a Christian blog that had some rude Christians. The Christian commentator called them on it and said that they were supposed to represent Christ to the world, and since Christ treated the rude Christians in a way they did not deserve (kindness, mercy, and compassion and so forth), then the least the rude Christians could do is treat others in a kind fashion.
I've always looked at the idea of representing Christ as following the Golden Rule, loving one's neighbor, not responding in the "eye for an eye" fashion, and basically being a really good person. But when a Christian is called to represent Christ, does that mean that a Christian is called to treat a non-Christian in a fashion that s/he doesn't deserve?
I'm not talking about the clear-cut cases of not retaliating if someone hits you, or steals from you, or is just an overall dirtbag towards you. I'm talking about a situation where you see a stranger in the street struggling to load packages into a car, and the Christian comes over to help. That is a method of representing Christ, and yet the loving behavior is in fact something the stranger doesn't deserve.
Or if a Christian is polite to a stranger in the street -- just a smile or a pleasant greeting -- and acting as a representative of Christ. Yet if Christ treats us as we don't deserve, then don't the strangers on the street deserve nothing less than to be punched in the face?
Or if representatives of Christ comfort parents grieving for a child. Or offer food to a starving person, or shelter to the homeless. If you are representing someone who in fact treated people in a fashion they did not deserve, then isn't there an implication that the Christians are saying that the grieving parents, the strangers, the homeless don't deserve the kind or polite treatment?
The thing is, I don't think a majority of Christians -- regardless of where they fall on the conservative or liberal scale -- would say that most strangers deserve to be punched in the face. Or that the homeless deserve to have no shelter or that those who have no food deserve to starve. They do in fact deserve kind treatment.
Yet their very theology, the very person they claim to represent, says something different.
Edit: I've received a few comments indicating that my post wasn't precisely clear -- which I'm grateful for, because I was still working through why this whole thing bothered me when I wrote this.
It was mentioned that Christians would say they are called to express the love of Jesus to people, and be his hands and feet. Or that the Bible didn't really call out the behavior I listed in the post.
And I think my discomfort can be summed up like so: rude Christian was chastised by moderator Christian for his rude behavior. This chastisement wasn't in the form of you are supposed to love your enemies, or to be the hands and feet of Jesus. The chastisement was in form of telling the rude Christian that you were treated by Christ as you don't deserve. Why was that connected with an admonishment to be polite? Why was that tied to the idea of representing Christ to the world? The implication I was seeing is that being polite to non-Christians was something they didn't deserve. Or just being polite to anyone. And since the representative of Christ is tied to all areas, like helping the unfortunate, does that mean that the unfortunate don't deserve help at all?