When Did Believers Become So Mean?

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I’m having an issue with people who are having issues. Maybe it’s because I didn’t start going to church until about 10 or so years ago, but from where I am sitting, people who claim to love Jesus have forgotten there is a difference between saying it and acting like it. When did believers become so mean?

The most surprising thing to me since I went all-in on the Jesus life is how many Christian people I’ve seen forget the grace basics. I went into vocational ministry six years ago and since that time:

  • I was fired from a church I loved for God only knows why.

  • I was asked to step down from a volunteer position because the woman I reported to said she wished I loved Jesus more.

  • Christian friends rejected me.

  • Mothers and daughters who have scripture verses in their social media bios got a teacher, who didn’t deserve it, fired.

  • An author I love was rejected by a large percentage of the Christian community over one controversial topic.

  • A friend’s publisher dropped her because she wasn’t “Christian enough.”

  • A New York Times best-selling author was publicly chastised for “diet theology.”

  • An author I admire changed her tune when she didn’t like the results of an election and now focuses more on spreading hate than spreading love.

I can’t stop thinking about how divided people who love the Lord are becoming. This division is destructive because it hurts us as believers and it makes non-believers think, “I’m not going anywhere near that hot mess.” It creates a culture where no one is safe. In fact, Lifeway (A Christian mega-company), did a survey in 2017 and estimated that 65% of America's churches are in decline. Could this in-fighting have something to do with that?

Christians are spewing hate toward one another in the name of Jesus, but no one is asking themselves the age-old question of WWJD? I’ve only read the bible a couple of times, but if I read it correctly, Jesus purposefully hung out with the sinners and people who were willing to learn.

For Jesus, the problem wasn’t the sinners who were getting it wrong. The problem was with the religious leaders who were convinced they were right. 

Here’s my fear: Are we becoming more like religious leaders than followers of Jesus?

I know there are controversial subjects, but when did we become so afraid to ask and wrestle with the hard questions? At what point did our struggle equal our condemnation? God doesn’t need us to defend or protect his word. He’s God and perfectly capable of dealing with bad theology and ideology on his own.

I am just not sure we believe that. If we did, we would be free from the burden of needing to be right. The door to thoughtful conversations would open, and the ever-growing divide would close. We could disagree with grace and love each other anyway.

It’s easy to criticize. It’s a harder thing to pull up a chair with someone you disagree with and say, “Help me understand why you think like you do.” It’s harder, but better.

As believers, we are not required to agree with each other all the time. We are simply required to love God and love others as ourselves. We have to make a choice.

Do we want to be the Christians who tear each other apart or the ones who look the most like Jesus so far? 

 

John said to Jesus, “Master, we saw someone using your name to cast out demons, but we told him to stop because he isn’t in our group.” But Jesus said, “Don’t stop him! Anyone who is not against you is for you.”’ Luke 9:49-50 (NLT)

 

So that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.” 1 Corinthians 12:25-26 (NIV)

 

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples if you love one another.” John 13:34-35 (NIV)

 

Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.” Romans 14:13 (NIV) 

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples if you love one another.” John 13:34-35 (NIV)

 

Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.” Romans 14:13 (NIV)

 

May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus. Then all of you can join together with one voice, giving praise and glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 15:5-6 (NLT)