“What will it take for Christians to stop putting each other down?” – A question asked on Yahoo Answers
“Christians don’t put each other down….we judge each other by our fruits….GOD’s word has been distorted by many and we have to preech the truth. obviously theirs’ gonna be ‘fights.'” -An answer provided by someone calling himself “Christian Dude”
You don’t have to look very hard to find that ‘Christian Dude’ is not alone in his sentiment. While I support the need to discern what people, preachers, or anybody else is saying about God and their use of scripture, my skin crawls when people start arguing, name calling, and completely writing someone off. What you put on the internet is there forever. Even if you delete it, there is still a cached picture of what you wrote. You are immortalizing the dirty emotional outburst. (What enemy would want the imperfection of Christians to forever stain them? Who hired the hit man?) There is no question that scripture is mishandled. However, when a blind warrior starts slinging that sword, nothing resembling unity is left in tact. Everybody loses when that happens.
There are people who feel like their spiritual calling is to find people they disagree with and relentlessly attack them. I don’t know what goes on inside their heart when they’re peeking in their neighbors windows, but I am grieved just thinking about the level of negativity that would go along with that. I can only imagine what motivates people to set aside their call to love, to cultivate a life in common, and to fight to stay together.
I have a serious concern to bring up with you, my friends, using the authority of Jesus, our Master. I’ll put it as urgently as I can: You must get along with each other. You must learn to be considerate of one another, cultivating a life in common. I bring this up because some … brought a most disturbing report to my attention—that you’re fighting among yourselves! I’ll tell you exactly what I was told: You’re all picking sides… I ask you, “Has the Messiah been chopped up in little pieces so we can each have a relic all our own? –1 Corinthians 1:10-13
I can only assume that these people have been hurt by religious leaders somewhere along the line. It’s never a good idea to base your life’s purpose on resentment and anger.
I can’t even begin to relate how disturbing it is. I am so grieved at the bitterness and the level of excitement that delivers the bitterness. I was hurt by some professing Christians, too. However, I choose to counteract the hurt with Love. And, believe me, I get attacked for that, too. I just see it as an open wound that needs the healing balm of grace.
These people will talk about love and they’ll claim to believe in God’s grace, but they deliver it on a rock thrown through the window or screaming at you from a street corner.
“What am I to do with you, …? What do I make of you, …? Your declarations of love last no longer than morning mist and predawn dew.” -Hosea 6:4
The fight is against grace. People think that grace will make people think they don’t have to obey God’s commands. The fight is against the message of Love. They’re crying out for more judgement. They’re lovers of wrath. They want to see the wrath. God has wrath, but it’s not for who they think it is…
“That’s why I use prophets to shake you to attention, why my words cut you to the quick: To wake you up to my judgment blazing like light.” –Hosea 6:5
This is not a message of condemnation for those who live their lives with their eyes squinted in criticism. This is supposed to be a wake-up call. It is scripture telling the religious busy-bodies to find something else to do with their lives.
Steer clear of the barking dogs, those religious busybodies, all bark and no bite. All they’re interested in is appearances—knife-happy circumcisers, I call them. -Philippians 3:2
It’s also scripture telling you to stay away from people like that.
I used to be one of them. Some of you used to be one of them. Paul used to be one of them and that is what he’s talking about here (Please read it, it’s good!):
The real believers are the ones the Spirit of God leads to work away at this ministry, filling the air with Christ’s praise as we do it. We couldn’t carry this off by our own efforts, and we know it—even though we can list what many might think are impressive credentials. You know my pedigree: a legitimate birth, circumcised on the eighth day; an Israelite from the elite tribe of Benjamin; a strict and devout adherent to God’s law; a fiery defender of the purity of my religion, even to the point of persecuting the church; a meticulous observer of everything set down in God’s law Book.
The very credentials these people are waving around as something special, I’m tearing up and throwing out with the trash—along with everything else I used to take credit for. And why? Because of Christ. Yes, all the things I once thought were so important are gone from my life. Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, firsthand, everything I once thought I had going for me is insignificant—dog dung. I’ve dumped it all in the trash so that I could embrace Christ and be embraced by him. I didn’t want some petty, inferior brand of righteousness that comes from keeping a list of rules when I could get the robust kind that comes from trusting Christ—God’s righteousness. -Philippians 3:3-9 (emphasis mine)
There are those who will discredit a point because they didn’t like the Bible translation. Speaking only for myself, I study in four different translations and read arguments from both sides of what I glean from my study. I look for where I could be wrong, continue to research the subject and then I write. I quote The Message because of its conversational style. It flows well. Anyone who wants can look up the scriptures and research for themselves. I don’t mind it because if they actually research, they’ll find all the other supporting evidence that I didn’t have room for. It’s a win-win. (No longer speaking only for myself:) However, people will spit on the whole thing and refuse to consider that their discomfort is actually God applying pressure to their chest to get them to see Him.
So, what does God want?
“I’m after love that lasts, not more religion. I want you to know God, not go to more prayer meetings.” –Hosea 6:6
I use harsh language when it comes to people who think they are pleasing God by tearing down other Christians. Especially Christians who have messed up. That is something I will fight for. However, God speaks much harsher than I.
You broke the covenant—just like Adam! You broke faith with me—ungrateful wretches! -Hosea 6:7
What is the covenant? The rainbow is a covenant. God’s promise of salvation is the covenant. Peace is the covenant.
Grace is the covenant.
“The covenant . . . is an act of grace on God’s part for reconciling man to himself, but man’s response should not be overlooked” –Smith’s Bible Dictionary (emphasis mine)
Don’t worry, God’s commands come in there, too. Anyone who, as Paul says, knows Jesus ‘firsthand’ knows this already. It’s not about keeping a list of rules. They just end up making you feel better as you check them off. A false sense of righteousness. It’s much more selfless than that.
When you love others, you complete what the law has been after all along. -Romans 13:8
We are imperfect human beings. Even though we desperately want to get it right, we will still mess up. We will fail. Just don’t turn your back on the covenant and lose your faith in what Jesus did. There are so many ways to get this wrong, but one way to get it right.
You can’t go wrong when you love others. When you add up everything in the law code, the sum total is love. -Romans 13:10