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November 17, 2017

Are you a good Christian or bad one? It depends on the judge.

Original image: Flickr, Trevor Botting
Original image: Flickr, Trevor Botting

God has a sense of humor.

I recently learned my “Proof that Christians are stupid and hateful morons” post ended up on an atheist social media site. It actually had a few likes, until someone decided to read the entire piece and noticed the real life examples of hate speech and bias came from the “enlightened” camp. After laughing about the irony of my pro-faith post being (temporarily) celebrated on an atheist site, I actually felt a tinge of sympathy for the guy who originally shared it because his compatriots viciously turned on him.

His buddies then filled my blog’s comment box with volumes of enlightened feedback. Allow me to share an example of one such commenter who did his best to sneak in a dig:

Anyone that calls you stupid is just so ignorant. You know they are living in a world of sin. And how do you know that? Because the bible said so of course! Keep fighting the good fight sister.

I really wish the rest of the world that has been persecuting us Christians so harshly would realize why we are calling them sinners and looking down upon their actions. It’s because we LOVE them. True love is being able to tell the truth (as long as it’s the truth of the BIBLE am I right?!).

I’m tired of us Christians being second-class citizens in the United States. We live in a country where people who decide the law (congress) are ONLY 70% christian. It’s time for us as an oppressed people to FIGHT BACK.

My response:

I noticed your other comments on the _____ site, a collection of some of the most vitriolic anti-Christian commentary I’ve seen in a long time. I also noticed you’ve got mad video game skills (as noted in his social media profile.)

Given what I saw on the site as well as your commentary for other _____users, you surely can understand why I may perceive your comment to be rather snarky. You may also understand why similar comments from other like-minded individuals have failed the blog’s “play nice” comment policy and have subsequently met their fate in the abyss of the virtual hate trash can. Unfortunately, I am not as stupid as you had hoped I would be.

I apologize for any embarrassment or inconvenience I have caused you in pointing out your condescension, but please know my faith requires me to forgive others for their transgressions – just as I have been forgiven. As much as you may hate this, I pray you find peace.


It’s easier to fight each other
The original comment and my response brought in mixed reviews from other believers. Some were happy I stood up for the faith by being firm and loving. Others felt I was ungodly because I didn’t turn the other cheek.  There was no middle ground – I was either a good Christian or a bad one.

The feedback put a big spotlight on the faith’s open secret: we are more likely to judge and fight among ourselves rather than work together to battle the real enemy.

The Christian version of “The Hunger Games”
The infighting goes beyond the speck versus plank in the eye. It’s like “The Hunger Games,” except in our version we attack others whom we believe are weak in “holiness standards.” There are occasional alliances in the holiness game, but those are used only to eliminate someone who is especially threatening.  Once the threat is eliminated, the others go back to battling each other for the ultimate holiness win.  Only one can survive the arena.

What goes on in the arena? A church has a rock band play during services; the holier ones draw swords to silence the sacrilegious. A youth speaker uses the word “crappy” in his presentation; the holier ones rule he is not a godly role model and then destroy his ministry. A recovery group meets in a church classroom; the holier ones condemn them for their moral failures. The government requires a denomination to provide abortion drugs in their healthcare plan; the holier ones sit back and watch the legal stoning.

Who wins during these fights? Not us. At best, these actions portray us as hypocritical. At worst, they portray us as hateful and unloving. If we can’t love each other, how can we love the ones who really need it?  We’re supposed to be brothers and sisters in Christ, a united family.  In reality, we lack unity – and that’s why the enemy is so successful.


Facing my human judgment

Was I being a good Christian when I responded to my angry commenter?  Absolutely not. Was I being a bad Christian? Nope.

There was nothing inherently good or bad about what I did; however, I was being an obedient Christian because I felt God led me to that response – after a  of prayer and editing. While it may not have been what He would have wanted others to do, it fell perfectly in line for His Kingdom plan and purpose for me.

God gives each of us different temperaments, spiritual gifts and convictions, and He has a very specific purpose for blessing us with His unique combination.  He made each of us differently, and He is okay with that.

I fully admit that I am “different.” And imperfect. And wonderfully made, too.  Those facts became evident after a conversation with a fellow Christian mom about a “controversial” book I allowed my daughter to read. She was upset my tween was telling her child about what a great book it was, and she was flabbergasted I allowed my daughter to read something that featured magic and mythical creatures. There were a few comments such as “if you were a good Christian parent” and “you’re setting a bad example.” I was able to brush them aside, but the mom went for the nuclear option when I reiterated I saw nothing wrong with my decision. I had reviewed the book, prayed about what to do, and trusted God’s answer. The conversation ended with a very haughty, “Well, as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

I guess I wasn’t REALLY serving the Lord. Judgment and condemnation delivered loud and clear. Love? Not so much.


Finding the unity
I believe it’s possible for Christians to stop the infighting and rediscover our common ground. Despite all of our differences, some self-imposed and some God-given, we share an effortless bond that can create the strongest unity this world has ever seen.

We love Jesus.

That’s it.  Pretty simple and gloriously uncomplicated.

We know who He is, what he wants for the world, why He sacrificed himself, and how we can share His gift with others. We also know we’re supposed to love and forgive, just as He did.

We have the power to stop our silly fighting and holiness contests. It starts with showing some of that love, respect and forgiveness to our own brothers and sisters. End the judgment and condemnation over miniscule differences in opinion. Recognize no human being will ever meet our arbitrary holiness criteria. God has never been a big fan of self-righteousness, and He is fully aware of how flawed each of us really is.

If we show real love to each other, others may believe us when talk about our love for them.

If we show real love to each other, we may be able to recognize who the real enemy is and work together to thwart him.

 

 


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