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I have an issue that is really robbing me of peace and sanity. How can a christian be mean? I do not mean on occasion when your tooth aches and your tire goes flat and the neighbors dog ate your newspaper. I am asking about those people who wake up mean and go to bed sour. People who neighbors avoid, who make terrible bosses, who discourage and/or belittle others. I have no doubt you have met one. Almost every church has a few, some churches have a bunch.
How is this possible? And worse, The Barna survey of young people said this,
“One of the groups hit hardest by the criticism is evangelicals. Such believers have always been viewed with skepticism in the broader culture. However, those negative views are crystallizing and intensifying among young non-Christians. The new study shows that only 3% of 16 – to 29-year-old non-Christians express favorable views of evangelicals. This means that today’s young non-Christians are eight times less likely to experience positive associations toward evangelicals than were non-Christians of the Boomer generation (25%).” http://www.barna.org/barna-update/article/16-teensnext-gen/94-a-new-generation-expresses-its-skepticism-and-frustration-with-christianity
One explaination is, we deserve it. This is what frustrates me most, the group of people who brag the most about the bible act as if they have never read it. Our Savior and His apostles taught well, but we seem to be failing the test. We are not practicing His Christianity.
|Mat 6:15||“But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.|
If you believe as I do , that Jesus was more than a teacher, more than a man, that He taught with authority born of His position, I would think you would be serious about this one. Forgiveness is not an option.
|“And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.|
Do you need an M.Div. to get this one? You do not need to break it down into Greek or “unpack” it. This is not about reciprocal behavior, the other parties participation is not required. Be honest, do you see people in church, all of them, doing this?
I ask because people are sensitive. How many mean people in a church does it take to drive a seeker away? One. It is not fair, but if one person hurts the sensitive feelings of a broken person who has crawled into church for the first time in a long time, or ever, that person’s chance of remaining to hear the Gospel is greatly reduced. How many mean people does a child need to have contact with before he/she learns church is a bad place?
|Blessed [are] the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.|
I need God’s mercy every step of my life. If I understand this verse, if I show mercy to others, God will show mercy to me. Is my lack of seminary training blinding me to something? It does not say to withhold mercy from gays or pregnant teens or the addicted. God loves mercy.
Since we are all sinners saved by His grace, and we sit at the feet of the Messiah to be taught, how do we all fall short of His words from Matt. 7?
I take the words of Christ quite literally , if we judge others, a job that, by the way Jesus says He did not come to do, John 12:47, I will be judged in like manner. When I think of the most judgemental people I have met, many are legalists who go to a Christian church. No one could stand up to the level of judgement they render, and Jesus says that is the level used to judge them! I want to judge mercifully, if at all.
So are these unmerciful self appointed judges Christian? How can we possibly tell? Still in Matt. 7 The words of the Savior:
“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but
inwardly they are ravening wolves
Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither [can] a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.“
What fruits? The fruit of the Spirit, Gal 5 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience,faithfulness,kindness,
goodness,gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Sour grapes and lemons need not apply. I write this because the truth is that if we followed Jesus’s teachings everybody would want to hang out with us. Churches would be packed, children would keep the faith of their parents, and none of that is happening. We are not spreading as we should, it is time to take stock. Do you think the problem is with God? His Word? Or could it possibly be us? Instead of being fruitful we have cheapened our relationship with God by adding legalism. We were warned about this by paul in Collosians
“If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world,
do you submit to regulations– “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.”
Many of us are just not practicing Christianity. We are in a self-made religion that got away from what He tryed to teach us.“ Love God, Love your neighbor.”
Almighty Father, Creator of all created, forgive us, and guide us in love, to love, by Your love, for You are love. Amen
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