Christians have been getting a pretty bad rap lately.
From freaking out about the holiday cups at Starbucks to Westboro Baptist Church, there is no shortage of reasons for people to quickly roll their eyes when I tell them my faith of choice.
Just like with any faith, it's important to not let a few bad apples ruin the whole bunch.
It makes me so sad when I hear some of the experiences my friends and acquaintances have had at the hands of people who professed to love Jesus.
Church was not put in place to judge.
It's here to lead by example and to be a safe place, which, unfortunately, is not the case for many people these days, especially among young people.
Aside from bad press, Christians are sounded by misconceptions.
We supposedly all have big families, can't read social cues and wear clothes that make Mother Teresa look like "Girls Gone Wild."
So as an only child who was the senior class vice president and shops at Forever 21, I don't really "look" like a Christian.
I love to slash stereotypes, so here are 10 misconceptions about Christians that need to go away:
1. We're super judgmental.
This is the biggest and my least favorite misconception.
Yes, some people will judge (Christian or not), but that doesn't mean a whole faith should be pegged as "the judgmental ones."
2. We can't have fun.
I just laugh at this one honestly.
There's nothing wrong with going out or going to parties or drinking. (Water to wine, anyone?)
It's all about how you act in those environments.
No one wants to be the sloppy drunk singing Celine Dion off-key into some random person's ear.
3. We're somehow socially indifferent or aloof.
Jesus fought for the underdog everywhere he went, and so do we.
4. We're hypocritical.
Look, everyone sucks at being human sometimes, so why is it up to us to be the first ones who don't screw up?
5. We'll literally hit you over the head with the Bible.
Unless you're a spider that crosses my line of sight, I'd say you're pretty safe from that.
6. We can't talk about anything other than Jesus.
He may be a big part of most of my conversations — I mean, when you love someone, you can't stop talking about him or her, either — but I also have Facebook, Twitter, Elite Daily and the news to keep me up-to-date on all things pop culture and world happenings.
7. We hate people we don't agree with.
No. Just no.
I don't hate anyone (except for maybe the person who planned out the 405).
Just because I don't agree with you doesn't mean I won't support you or love you.
For example, if my friend dyes her hair blue and I know she'd look better with auburn, I'll tell her that I don't agree with her and then help with the instructions for said blue hair.
8. We're all Republicans.
That's just labeling without thought.
I happen to be an independent because I think people should be judged on their track records, not the colors of the ties they wear.
9. We're naive.
I'd like to consider myself to be a realist with hopeless romantic tendencies.
10. We think we're always right.
Well, this one has a little bit of truth to it.
I mean, look at it this way: Of course I think I'm right. Why would I believe in something if I didn't think it at least had the possibility of being true?
But that doesn't have to negate how you feel on a matter.
Our culture is built on labels and stereotypes, some more damaging than others.
It's important, now more than ever, to be able to hear people out and listen to other perspectives.
The less resistance we have toward one another, the more unified we can become as a nation.
And Lord knows we need some reunification.
If you're not a Christian and you have any Christians in your life, ask them questions.
We don't bite!
If you're a Christian and have friends who are not, please be mindful of the image you are giving them of our faith because Jesus (and the Internet) are watching.