Thursday, May 21, 2009

Christians are Judgmental

I include myself of course. It's one of our worst traits, and a major contributor to the bad reputation Christians have today. We're judgmental. Why are we judgmental? Because we're fractured, fallen people just like everyone else. But there's more to it than that. There's this group of ideas that go something like this - they're the world, we're the Church; we're saved, they're not; and the ideas go on from there until we basically see the world as us vs. them and when we see it like that, we simultaneously put ourselves on the right side of the tracks, and everyone else on the wrong side. We're the stuff, everyone else needs help. And then (this is the worst part), THEN - we criticize them for being where/who they are in life.

I just can't get over this. And the sad part is I hear it every day - not from a couple Christians I happen to know as friends that just aren't good people - from Christian radio, from Christian leaders, from pastors, from people who you would HOPE wouldn't be like that. The local morning radio personality here whenever the birthdays of the day are read there is always some "joke" to be made about non-Christian celebrities. My TH morning men's Bible study is thick with put downs for the Democrats, especially since the election. Anytime there are big things on TV, like last night the American Idol finale was on, people begin taking up sides for someone (which is fine), but to the extent that there is namecalling and insulting put out on social networking sites like Twitter and blogs that put down the person they "don't like." I have heard preachers in the pulpit criticize and make fun of other denominations than their own (and those folks are Christians too!). It all SMACKS of pride and hypocrisy, and we tell the world by the things we say that we are judgmental and see them as less than we see ourselves.

I HATE THIS. When we look to the example of Jesus, was this what He modeled? Absolutely not. He always reached out to, befriended, healed, helped, and loved the outcast - those who the religious type of His day wanted nothing to do with because of how "sinful" they were. This judging that we do every day is not what we are supposed to be about, and it certainly isn't making a convincing case for people who look at us claiming to love and accept everyone, and then not living up to it. Are we perfect? No. But are we responsible for our words? Yes. Are we ruining the witness of the Church and of Christ's Gospel by being judgmental of others? Yes.

I encourage everyone to read Gabe Lyons and Dave Kinnaman's book "unChristian." It addressed the main problems Christians are facing right now with our identity, and being considered judgmental is one of the main ones. We're also seen as hypocritical, narrow-minded, old-fashioned, and hating homosexuals. This is what we've done to ourselves, because people listen to what we say and they watch what we do. Our creed doesn't match our deed. And it's going to take a lot of work to get our reputation back. And one of the places it starts is by choosing to use our words to love people, instead of criticize them - even if you don't really mean it, it still comes across the same. Again, I don't exclude myself from this charge - I need to do it just as much as everyone else. So let's encourage one another and start living and speaking in truth and love.


CFHusband said...

I thought you might like what Vince Antonucci had to say about this topic today:

Anonymous said...

Stumbled on this via twitter. Great post!