As part of being in the lovely Nadine Brandes's launch team for her latest Christian dystopian release (October 16th), A Time to Speak [OUT OF TIME #2], I am speaking out about an issue that has been heavy on my heart lately.
Condemnation. Sarcasm. Pride. Three things that I've been noticing are becoming popular in the "Christian" culture.
Condemnation. I see a lot of condemnation flowing around me. Lately, I see "Christians" (and I use this term lightly because lots of different people claim to be Christians these days), harshly refusing other people's claims of faith; saying there's absolutely no way. They're a fake. A liar. Definitely not truly saved.
I've seen Christians one hundred percent condemn proclaimed Christian singers, from Erica Campbell to Lauren Diagle; basically saying their songs are from Satan and Not. Of. God. Period.
I've heard Christians accuse the writings of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien (both fellow Christians), calling their books demonic through and through.
And then there's the harsh way we Christians condemn non-believers, who don't understand the righteous way we strive to live because they don't know about the awesome Love that changed us ...
Sarcasm. People put a lot of stock into the ability to be witty and sarcastic. Christians too.
I can't tell you how many times I've seen a "witty" review from a Christian, sarcastically tearing apart some author's heart (book).
And daily, I see non-believers, "liberals", and other such people slammed by my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. I mean, that sarcasm is dripping from every word. Underneath, I hear quite clearly the point the sarcastic writer is bring across: "You're stupid. You idiot. Brainless. Scum."
Which brings me to the final thing: Pride. Because while they're silently screaming the above statement at their subject, it seems they're self-acclaiming themselves: "I'm cool. I got it together. I know more than you. I'm better than you."
(Um ... pride much???)
I just cringe. Seriously, it hurts. And I know I'm guilty of this stuff too! But we shouldn't be! Oh, we should know better than the act like that! Since when are Christians supposed to be condemning, sarcastic, and prideful?
I get the whole witty thing. I enjoy dry humor too. Sarcasm can be fun. But not when it causes someone else pain. Not if you're doing it out of pride - because you think you got it together; to make yourself look better. Not if you're using it to make someone look stupid (I don't care how wrong the person is!). To hurt someone.
"Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets."
"And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love."
1 Corinthians 13:13
I know our culture celebrates pride ... but we're following Christ, not going with the flow. I know there's a lot of people in the world misjudging, pushing down, and saying hurtful things about Christians and what we stand for, but that doesn't give us any right to strut around like we're "better than thou", while spouting the same nastiness right back at them.
"Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."
And the bottom line is, God hates pride.
"Everyone proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD; Though they join forces, none will go unpunished."
"The fear of the LORD is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way
And the perverse mouth I hate."
And no, I'm not for "do whatever you wanna do", "there's no right and wrong", "don't judge me". But there's a difference between judging and condemning. You can look at someone and think: "Well, their fruits don't seem to be lining up with what they're claiming to believe. So ... I'm not sure." Or: "I, personally, am not going to promote this song because I feel some of the themes are a little off track." Or: "I believe God is King and the Bible is His true Word, so yes, I believe that lust, adultery, fornication, and the homosexual lifestyle are sinful."
But calling a Christian's song or book Satanic?? Insisting someone you don't even know personally is "not saved"? Those are harsh and final condemnations! Only God sees the heart. We can "judge" to a certain extent by examining the "fruit of the tree", but often we condemn when we don't have the right.
"For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."
1 Samuel 16:7
"You will know them by their fruits."
"Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness."
"Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you."
"And on some have compassion, making a distinction; but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh."
Notice the words 'love', 'good', 'gentleness', 'grace', 'tenderhearted', 'forgiving', 'kind', 'compassion'.
We can stand up and speak out against sin WITHOUT sarcastic, prideful, and hateful comments. We can choose not to listen to popular Christian songs without condemning the artist. We can say we're uncomfortable with certain Christian material without calling it outright demonic property. We can even honestly review a book without "witty", mean remarks and throwing our opinion around like it's solid truth.
Fellow Christ followers, I think it's time to embrace Love. Like, true, deep, sacrificial, real, selfless, Christ-like love. Jesus wasn't recklessly bashing people, or spouting off sarcastic comments because it made him feel good about himself; or acting like everyone was stupid and below him. No. He was firm, real, holy, and judging (He can see the heart, after all). But He also extended grace to sinners. Showed mercy to the ones who hated and persecuted Him. Forgave those who let him down. He did not condemn the woman caught in adultery. First, He showed her His love. Then He told her Truth (go and sin no more). He knew every vile act of every human being, yet He gave up his very life so that they might have a chance at true and beautiful life.
So stop condemning people to hell when you can't see what's in their heart. Stop sarcastically beating someone down (even if you're speaking truth). Stop pridefully strutting about; we are made whole and clean because of HIM, not ourselves!