Friday, October 23, 2015

Condemnation. Sarcasm. Pride. ... Where Does the Christian Fit In? #Called2Speak

     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.

"And the second, like it, is this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these." 
Mark 12:31

"Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets." 
Matthew 7:12

"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." 
Romans 12:21

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." 
Proverbs 16:5

"The fear of the LORD is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way 
And the perverse mouth I hate." 
Proverbs 8:13

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." 
Matthew 7:16

"Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness." 
Galations 6:1

"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." 
Ephesians 4:29-32

"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." 
Jude 22-23

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! 
     SHOW LOVE.

"Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbalAnd though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed updoes not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truthbears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away." 
1 Corinthians 13:1-8

As one of singer Toby Mac's songs is titled, SPEAK LIFE! Let's not add to the hurt, darkness, and devastation that's already rampant in the world. Let us strive to show the love of the Almighty God we claim to follow.

"Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.
Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men." 
Romans 12: 9-18

***********************************

Check out the books that inspired this speaking out! In A Time to Speak by Nadine Brandes, Parvin Blackwater must learn to obey God's calling and speak out against the injustices of her culture.



What happens when you live longer than you wanted to?
Parvin Blackwater wanted to die, but now she’s being called to be a leader. The only problem is, no one wants to follow.
The Council uses Jude’s Clock-matching invention to force “new-and-improved” Clocks on the public. Those who can’t afford one are packed into boxcars like cattle and used for the Council’s purposes.
Parvin and Hawke find themselves on a cargo ship of Radicals headed out to sea. What will the Council do to them? And why are people suddenly dying before their Clocks have zeroed-out?
Book Two in the OUT OF TIME series by Nadine Brandes.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Hop Links
9.28.15 – Gretchen Engel
9.30.15 – Nadine Brandes
10.01.15 – Jason Joyner
10.05.15 – Gretchen Engel (part 2)
10.06.15 – Tricia Mingerink
10.08.15 – Gretchen Engel (Scriblerians)
10.09.15 – Emilie Hendryx
10.11.15 – Janeen Ippolito
10.12.15 – Zachary D Totah
10.14.15 – Brittany Valentine
10.15.15 – Andrew Swearingen
10.17.15 – Megan Besing
10.19.15 – Angel Roman
10.20.15 – Charles Franklin
10.21.15 – Lisa Godfrees
10.23.15 – Shantelle Hannu
10.27.15 – Natalie Walters
10.29.15 – The Artist Librarian
11.02.15 – Rosalie Valentine
11.17.15 – Amanda Fender

(Pictures found on Pinterest or used by permission of Nadine Brandes)
(All Scripture taken from the New King James Version (NKJV) Bible. Underlining and large wording mine.)

8 comments:

  1. Deborah O'CarrollOctober 23, 2015 at 10:03 AM

    Interesting post. :) I agree that we definitely need to love more, especially online these days. Whenever anyone says someone "claims" to be a Christian, I'm just like "NO. You cannot make that call. That is between their heart and God." So I try to never say that someone's not a Christian. They may not be behaving in exactly the manner that Christ would have us behave, but then, neither am I! We're all fallen and we all sin and it is only through the grace, mercy, and love of Jesus that we can attain anything close to "goodness" or true "Christianity". How many of us behaves 100% by what the Scriptures say? NOT. ONE. Only Jesus. So it breaks my heart when people condemn other believers. :( And not just condemn. You say don't condemn, but do judge, but well... we're not supposed to judge, either! o.o Like I was reading only yesterday: "Judge not, and you will not be judged yourselves: condemn not, and you will not be condemned: pardon, and you will be pardoned yourselves" (Luke 6:37) That's another thing I struggle with, because I see my fellow Christians judging everyone for EVERYTHING. I agree that we should not "go with the flow" and say that things are good when they are sins, and yes we know that things are wrong so we should not condone them, but "judging" the way that people do now is not helpful, especially when it's on things that only God can judge or on "smaller issues" (saying they're not Christians, or that they dress "wrong", or don't follow the particular "rules" that one's particular "church" has made up that are not actually IN the Scriptures, etc.). ...And see, there, I'm doing it myself! I'm accidentally judging people for judging others. I struggle with it too. Which is why I feel like I can't even say this. :-/ But only God can judge. Sorry, that was a rant and I don't know if I even explained any of it very well, but it was on my heart so I thought I'd share it. :) Anyway, it really does come down to loving, like you said. :) LET'S LOVE! Good thoughts, Shantelle. ^_^

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    1. Thanks for your thoughts, Deborah! I agree!! We cannot see the heart, only God! So really, we love, we strive to live according to God's word, we stand up for righteousness ... and we leave "who's saved and who's not saved" up to God! Because He's the only one who can see the real intentions of the heart - and see if the individual is truly trust Jesus Christ as their Savior.

      That's so true! None of us are perfect. So many times, our judging of others is simply self-righteousness and pride. That makes me think of the verse that says get the log out of your eye first so you can see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye!

      I didn't mean to say we should judge in that way! O.O I totally know what you mean there. The way churches go at each other ... and give out lists of personal "do and don'ts" ... Being harsh and unforgiving with each other, when we all have sinned! I don't think that's right.
      I'm just thinking of the verses such as "You shall know them by their fruits." (Matthew 7:16) That requires a certain amount of judging of their "fruits" ... seeing if they're producing good or bad fruit. And "bad company corrupts good character" (1 Corinthians 15:33); you have to judge what bad company is. And from Matthew 18:15-17: "Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector."

      So I think we're called to "judge" to a certain extent. But we judge through God's Word, not by our own personal opinion. We judge what's right and wrong by reading the Bible and seeing what He says is right and wrong.

      So that's like me right now ... surveying other Christians saying hateful, sarcastic, and prideful things ... (and examining it in my own life, to my shame!!), and judging it, and saying, "That's wrong! That's sin. That's going against what God calls us to do."

      So that's the kind of judging I'm talking about. Examining God's Word and then making a careful judgement according to what He says. I'm sorry if it came across in the wrong way!! I didn't mean it that way. So thanks for commenting and giving your thoughts! I hope I explained well enough what I meant! :)

      Yes, love with God's love! ^_^ One of my favorite scripture passages is where Jesus speaks to the woman caught in adultery. (Linked above). He knew she had sinned. But He wasn't like the others, who were all self-righteous and calling for her death (when they themselves were guilty of adultery too, in their hearts at least!!) He was gentle and forgiving. He showed her His love, and then He told her to go and sin no more. I just think that's beautiful, <3

      Thanks and blessings!! <3

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  2. PREACH PREACH PREACH!! This is so, so, so absolutely beautiful, Shantelle. You so amazingly communicate the truth of God's love. This is an awesome reminder and challenge. We're not to be of the world, but in the world...and we're to be in the world with Jesus's love. I am so fired up by this post, thank you for writing. Thank you for letting God use you!

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    1. Aw, thank you, Anne! So true! It is a challenge, but we must keep striving! :) You're welcome! I'm so honored and encouraged that it was helpful to you! God is good! ^_^ I pray that He will keep using my blog posts for His glory!

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  3. Great post! Sometimes it's really difficult not to speak what's on your mind, especially since sometimes that mean or sarcastic comment will make YOU feel better. But as Christians, we're called to take the higher path even if it is the harder path. Awesome post and thanks for challenging us to think before we speak. :)

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    1. Thanks, Claire! I know; it can be hard!! But yes, we're called to a higher path. Called to be different. I'm glad it was encouraging and challenging! :)

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  4. I especially agree with your last point about pride; sometimes I think Christians need to realize that if it weren't for grace, they would be in the blind and messed-up state like any other unbeliever. And even with grace, we are messed-up, but it's God who continues to give us new chances every day.

    However there's one thing which you're implying which I don't agree with. I do agree that we shouldn't condemn (I don't agree that we shouldn't judge, and yes, I know the Bible say "do not judge" but there is a difference between righteous judgement and unrighteous, but I'm not going to argue about this because I haven't done enough reading on it yet), I believe that we can tell if a person is truly a Christian or not. In the NT Christ says "you shall know them by their fruits," and there are many people who profess Christianity but their lifestyles are still sinful. James, in his letter, continually reminds us that works are the fruit of faith, and if someone is without works, his or her faith is dead. So I don't believe that we should go around excusing those who call themselves Christians who don't have healthy fruits because we "don't know their hearts" or anything like that.
    Just my two cents. =)

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    1. So true, Victoria! There is no one who is righteous, no not ONE. We are made righteous, only through accepting Jesus Christ's sacrifice and letting His blood cover our sins! So yes, we have no right to be self-righteous! If someone who claims to be a Christian is living a sinful lifestyle, I totally believe we should go talk to them about it! We are brothers and sisters in Christ, and need to keep each other accountable!

      Thanks for your two cents, :D Truly, you have some really good points, and I agree! (See my replying comment to Deborah O'Carroll above). I did quote that verse in my post: "By your fruits you shall know them." And I said in my post that I believe we can judge to a certain extent. We can judge people according to what God's Word says. If someone who claims to be a Christian is living a sinful lifestyle, I totally believe we should go talk to them. We are brothers and sisters in Christ and need to keep each other accountable! Matthew 18:15-17: "Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector."

      So from that verse, I getting that if you go to this person who's going against what the Bible says, and talk to them, and take other people with you to talk to him ... but he simply won't listen and keeps on sinning ... then you can judge that he's clearly not living up to his claims of following God.

      When I'm talking about not judging, I more talking about when we're hateful, self-righteous, pointing fingers. When we get all worked up about little things that don't matter; or our personal opinions. If a Christian is clearly going against what the Bible says, that cannot be overlooked.

      As for someone claiming to be a Christian and their fruits aren't looking especially good ... I still think that you need to be careful about what judgements you place on them if you don't know them personally. They might be a new believer, and don't realize they need to work on some areas of their lives.

      We all have areas we need to work on, after all! Maybe one Christian dresses really immodestly. Maybe another Christian swears. Maybe another watches yucky movies. They shouldn't look at each other and be like "*gasp* Look what they're doing! I would never do that! That horrible person!" Rather, they should set an example for each other in that area ... keep seeking God about their own lives ... and maybe talk about the issue if God opens a door to.
      We should set an example and not overlook wrong behavior. But also be careful; and never think you're better than another person because you don't do that! We all need to improve in some area or another. Thank the Lord, He is patient with us and still working on us!

      Thanks for you thoughts! I hope what I said made sense! Judge, according to God's word, in LOVE! :)

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