I read an interesting online article by Glenn Beck about why people, especially younger people, shy away from identifying as Christians. Beck had some salient points, but he didn’t tackle the biggest one. It is hard to be a Christian, especially when more and more supposed Christians attack and tear down denominations, as well as society attacking us at every turn. Who could blame kids for wanting to avoid that?
Beck said there are two reasons why this is happening. First, because of how the current societal and political climate treats Christians, and second, because of how Christians treat others. I think we can all agree about the first part. Beck said:
You define yourself as a Christian and you’re going to be defined by society as narrow-minded, judgmental, hateful. Believing marriage is between a man and a woman [is] used as ammunition to say you hate gays. … Teaching intelligent design is literally likened to child abuse now, mocked as “anti-science”. Virginity is mocked. Being pro-life is being spun as a war on women.
So very true. Our society celebrates the immoral, perverted and evil. Standing up to it is hard enough for an adult. It makes you a target for, at the very least, name calling. Why would anyone intentionally put themselves, as a younger person, in a group that our society has judged to be hateful, anti-science, anti-women and anti-gay?
Our schools from elementary to post-secondary, once a bastion of morality and reason, have become places where Christians are mocked, failed and demonized. Common Core indoctrinates them into thinking that through the centuries Christians were evil conquerors whose only objective was greed and subjugation. Never mind that the truth was far from that. High schools tolerate the demonization of Christian kids who dare say that while they don’t condone bullying of LBGT kids, they won’t embrace their sin. College professors regularly fail students of faith for standing up for their faith. College campuses push porn, abortion and filth all over campus and give small “free speech zones” in far back corners to Christians, if any.
Is it any wonder younger people don’t have a foundation to stand on?
Beck then went on to say that Christians biggest problem is this: “The biggest problem with the Christian church are all of the Christians” and that the churches are “rife with hypocrites, know-it-alls, holier than thous and the judgmental (sic).” Ok, there is no argument there, but find me a religion (or lack of one) without a requisite number of hypocrites. You can’t find one. We just make ourselves easy targets because we refuse to stop letting those who want to tear down Christianity do so by twisting our own Scripture. Instead of correcting them, we go on the defensive or worse yet, acquiesce and let them win.
I agree with him, especially when it comes to Christians tearing other Christians down. In fact, by being so hateful to other denominations, or even to those within our own, we make it easy for the outsiders to make us out to be hateful hypocrites who don’t deserve a voice. Satan loves to use us against ourselves, and it really needs to stop. If someone says, “I believe that Christ is God’s Son sent to save us from sin by dying on the cross and resurrecting on Easter” who are you to judge their faith by where they plant their butt on Sunday morning? That, my friend, is God’s job, not yours. Don’t give Satan a toehold by being hateful to other Christians, no matter what you think of their Church.
Here’s where Beck missed the boat: It’s not hateful to point out sin. We are, in fact, called to do so. It is an act of love to tell others that what they are doing is not right and help them find the right path. Isn’t that what Christ did? We can judge actions and words. We can judge as long as we are not committing the same sin (the whole log and speck thing…) Telling some, in a loving way, that what they are doing isn’t ok is not hateful.
I’m not saying go all Westboro Baptist. THAT is the exact opposite of lovingly pointing out sin. Look at it this way, if you were a parent, and your child hit another child, would you ignore it? No! You’d tell your child “NO! Hitting your playmate was wrong! Go say you’re sorry and don’t do it again!” If we find out they cheated on a test, or stole something, we correct it. Why? Because as parents it hurts us to see our children do the wrong thing. We want them to learn to do right, so we correct them.
Christians, when lovingly correcting another sinner, are doing the same thing. Notice I again used “lovingly.” Self-righteously jumping all over someone isn’t loving. Telling some they are a horrible person for committing a sin isn’t loving. Saying to them “Hey, you matter to me and it hurts me to see you doing ________. You know that’s wrong. You should ask forgiveness, repent and then don’t do it again” IS loving.
John 7:53-8:11 is often used by Christians and non-Christians alike to pound those who would “judge” into submission, but it actually proves my point above. There are many who think that when Christ told the crowd “let he among you who is without sin cast the first stone” He was saying that we are, under no circumstances, to judge others. They also say that by saying it Christ was condoning sexual sin. He was not. We know this because he calls her behavior “sin” and then says that He, the only one without sin who could justifiably condemn her to death for hers, is forgiving it and telling her not to do it again: “Neither do I condemn you, now go and sin no more.”
Until we, as Christians, stop cowering in the face of societal condemnation, stop allowing those who want to silence us into obscurity by twisting our Scripture to suit their agenda, and stop acquiescing to sinful behavior (or worse yet by indulging in it ourselves), we will lose. And what we will lose is the next generation. Stand up to the bullies by being loving advocates of Christ. Call sin for what it is, refuse to cower, and lovingly send them away with forgiveness and an admonition to “sin no more.”
It’s what Jesus would do…