You ask a legitimate question: Don't so-called christians just use Jesus as a whipping boy for their bad behavior?
We don’t personally believe that. We choose to get our information about how we should live from the bible, not the example of people. They’re too unreliable. As a matter of fact, we’re pretty darn far from perfect too and hope no one models a ‘good’ Christian based on us either. Anyone who does is sure to fall on their butt on a regular basis. That narrow road can be hard to stick to.
If you want to know what it’s about, just read. Not with the idea to look for inconsistencies, but to see the message. John's a good place to start because it's short and to the point. We will not debate the idea of the bible contradicting itself either. We are not telling anyone they must or even should believe as we do and we expect the same courtesy. Still, there is nothing about being led into eternity with a clean slate for sin you haven’t repented from anywhere in the bible. Repentance is about change in the heart. If you simply give lip service to it, it means nothing.
As far as the *rules*, there are no rules. Though the greatest commandment is to love one another as Jesus loves us (fully and unconditionally). That doesn’t mean that people who do harm should be hugged and sent on their way. Yes, there are many evils that have been committed in the name of God and Jesus but there are consequences to everything, whether you face them here or somewhere else.
It all comes down to love. Giving it and receiving it. If you’ve had bad experiences in either area of course you want to chuck the idea out the window. Who wouldn’t? Laugh it off. “Jesus who?” but to accept and give something unconditional is actually a lot harder than being a cynic. To take a chance on healing hurt is a lot harder than holding onto the rage that helps keep it buried deep where it’s *safe* We’ve done that and wouldn’t go back to it for anything.
Sadly, there are those (we call them Sunday Christians) who truly believe that all that matters is they *said the sinner's prayer* or showed up for services and that they can go on doing whatever the heck they want. Sadder still is the fact that like the Pharisees in the bible, they are the ones more often seen by people in general and because of that, people base their opinion of an entire faith on the idiots running around and playing games with it.
Don’t know if that answers your question, but not all who believe are full of shit and not all who believe *use* it as a bargaining chip. Some, live the Word instead of preaching it, at least to the best of their ability. They do their best and are accountable for their failings. They learn from their failures and continuously seek to change their hearts in order to better emulate the One they follow.