Those who know me know I'm a comic book nut. I always have been. When you grow up unable to walk, reading about characters who can do anything provides a kind of balance. In any event, I grew up between the pages of Superman, Batman, and alike.
Someone told me that X-Men was a great title to collect. I picked up that year's annual, which is typically a good jumping in point for a comic book. This issue featured a story about an X-Man drowning his sorrows in a bar, and a story about a mobbed up version of the Hulk shaking down gamblers. I was not impressed, and didn't pick up another X-Men book for twenty years. As a result, I missed out on some of the best comic book stories ever written.
I have a friend who is missing out on a relationship with God for much the same reason. She's known, seemingly devout, Christians who have called her a bad parent and evil for being a single parent. Now she sees Christians, as a whole, as judgmental hypocrites. I keep telling her that many of us aren't like that, but that initial negative encounter has her convinced that good Christians are the exception rather than the rule.
It occurs to me that Christians are more than merely followers of Jesus Christ. We're ambassadors people. Like it or lump it, we set the example. Non-Christians who have their noses pressed against the proverbial glass will see us first. If they don't like what they see, they won't stick around long enough to examine the Bible or church doctrine. They'll take their spiritual needs to the agnostics down the street.
It's not fair, but our actions and attitudes do effect others. I don't know if we'll be held accountable for turning people off who may have otherwise come to know God, but I know I don't want to risk it. I don't want to have to meet God on Judgement Day and answer for my neighbor not having a personal relationship with God.