I often wonder how and why those in Christendom have become so critical and, dare I say, hateful towards others. I’ve seen it so often over the years – be it in “back room meetings”, or with off-handed comments, or even with direct assaults from the pulpit – many Christians seem to take a perverse glee in the failure and short-comings of others. There is a condescending, smug, “I told you so” attitude….almost a sense of validation when an “enemy” falters. I remember three and a half years ago, when Hurricane Katrina hit
Before someone indicates otherwise, I’m not trying to construct some straw-man so that I can attack and systematically tear apart some faceless stereotype. These wicked reactions are reactions that I’ve seen first-hand. Unfortunately, I see it with increasing regularity. I don’t wish to politicize this particular blog entry, but can you imagine what the “Christian” response would be should Barack Obama win the election and then have something tragic happen to him? The only reason there wouldn’t be dancing in the streets is because we don’t dance!
I heard of a situation recently where a small church had an “enemy” within the community leadership. When it was revealed that this community leader had done some illegal and unethical things, and had subsequently lost his job and was facing some legal repercussions, the reaction of the pastor and congregation in that church wasn’t exactly charitable. Rather than reaching out in love to this disgraced man, there was an announcement made in the church regarding the specifics of the situation. While there wasn’t “applause”, per se, there was laughter from the congregants and a peculiar smugness from the pulpit. Several words come to mind when I see and hear of this sort of behavior: Words like, reprehensible, disgraceful, wicked, fleshly……The only upside in this situation is that it occurred during a church service in which there weren’t any “non-regulars” in attendance.
So why have so many of us come to the place where we have forgotten one of the most basic concepts of Christianity – love? We don’t “love our enemies”, neither do we “bless those that seek our destruction”; instead, we hate them. We long for their destruction and we laugh at their calamity. Unfortunately, it gets even worse when those that fall into ruin (or just go a different way) happen to be some of the “good guys”.
A family leaves a local church because the church leadership has taken a hard line stance on something like music and the family finds that the stance of the church leadership is beyond the bounds of Scripture. Regardless of how “quietly” the family leaves, the first reaction of many is, “Well they weren’t really serious about serving the Lord anyway. They’ll learn in a few years when they lose their kids”.
A prominent Bible college closes and the first reaction of some Christians is, “Well if they hadn’t let their standards slip all those years ago…”
I wrote an article recently lamenting the fact that we just don’t seem to be involved in our communities….we don’t tend to make a difference. I think that maybe I’ve come to understand why. We aren’t involved and making a difference because we don’t care! It’s much easier to lob grenades and echo (in a more pious way) the words of the Pharisee, “Thank God that we’re not like them.” It’s hard to reach the world for Christ when we are too busy staring down our noses at it. We criticize those that are different and, quite frankly, we just watch them….waiting for them to fall. And as soon as they do, what’s the reaction? We pounce on them!
I’ll be honest, friends….I’m tired of the whole mess.