I am a Christian.
I criticize my sister and brother in Christ anytime I see them straying off the path I think is right.
I make sure to point out the wrongs and flaws in people every chance that I get.
And if I can’t criticize them to their face then I just do it to my friends behind their back.
Because as a Christian it’s my duty to make sure everyone is judged and corrected and living for God just the way I want.
This is not the gospel that we preach on Sunday morning.
But unfortunately sometimes that’s the gospel that we choose to live.
And I am starting to see it more every day.
The brother or sister in Christ that is meant to support you and hold you up is the very one that brings you down.
It doesn’t make any sense logically.
I live in Seattle, which of course means I’m a Seahawks fan (go hawks!) and sometimes I wonder… what if every time those football players set foot on the field for practice instead of practicing plays, training, and preparing for their big game they decided to purposefully just walk around and beat one another up. The player, the coach, and everyone involved. Because that would make them “stronger” or get a point across?
We would think that’s absolutely ridiculous.
How is an injured player going to have the strength and ability to throw a pass and to score a touchdown?
Their wounds will only stop them from playing their best game.
And yet we don’t always think it’s so ridiculous when it comes to Christianity and our own brothers and sisters in Christ.
It’s sad but often times what would never be accepted on a football field is accepted in the body of Christ today.
Sometimes as Christians we forget that we are on the same team when it comes to living for Christ.
We forget that we are fighting the same battle for lost souls.
That in the end we all have the same goal and mission to accomplish.
And yet instead of working together as one we hypothetically speaking “beat each other up”.
We waste our time criticizing each others lifestyles and theological beliefs, we judge and share our opinion to anyone who listens about someone who we believe is “doing it wrong” and in the end we just tear each other down instead of build each other up.
God’s Word says if anyone is caught in transgression their brothers and sisters in Christ should restore him in a spirit of gentleness (Galatians 6:1).
And that we should be ready to exhort, reprove, and rebuke in and out season with complete patience and teaching (2 Timothy 4:2).
Correction is good.
It’s vital to the growth of every believer in the body of Christ but sometimes we confuse correction with condemnation and criticism, and in the process we become more like the world and nothing like Christ.
John 13:35 says that the way that the world will know we are Christ’s disciples is by the way we love one another and sometimes I wonder how well we reflect the truth.
I log onto facebook only to see yet again never-ending debates of Christians arguing about some controversial belief that will never be resolved.
Where is the love in that?
I read popular blogs of people tearing down pastors (particularly, Mark Driscoll these past few weeks) and everything they do wrong without an ounce of gentleness in them.
Where is the love in that?
I go to social gathering and overhear people talking about how “so-and-so” in the church is doing it all wrong.
Where is the love in that?
We are called to love each other the way that Christ loved us but how can we when we are too busy pointing judgmental fingers and trying to prove our own points?
Oh how easy it is for the enemy to distract us from our purpose in life by helping us fight one another instead of fight in the real war for lost souls.
He doesn’t need to do much to help us lose the fight long before we even begin, just help us find someone new to disagree with and criticize.
How sad is it that we have the answer to a world in need of Christ and yet we waste it away on petty arguments and fights.
My challenge to you and I this, not just for today but for every day of our lives: even when it’s tempting don’t tear your brother or sister down, not on social media, not through discussion, and not in your own mind no matter how much you disagree with them, no matter how they wronged you, and no matter how sinful you think they are.
We already have the world against us, why add more ammunition to the fight?
People are human, which means we all screw up.
Even the best of us.
Pastors, missionaries, and leaders.
You won’t always see eye to eye with people on theological subjects, on how ministries should run, or on how to live your life.
But just because someone does it different than you doesn’t give you the green light to criticize and judge.
Let’s be the kind of brothers and sister that don’t choose to injure each other with our words, our thoughts, and our actions.
Let’s not be the person who adds more weight to the burdens of the people around us when we should be praying for them.
We may have a different understanding of certain things in our walk with Christ but in the end we are all on the same team for God.
We all want victory for heaven.
But we won’t get it by bringing each other down.
Who needs one more stone thrown at them?
Who needs one more burden of hurtful words and actions places upon their shoulders?
Who needs one more wound to their soul and heart?
Not my pastors and leaders, not my family, and not my friends.
And not yours either.
It’s okay to write your opinion online, it’s okay to talk and share what’s on your heart, it’s okay to correct and to show someone who is lost the way but it’s only okay if you do it the way God calls us to: with gentleness and love.
Let’s not forget who the real enemy in this world is, it’s not our brothers and sisters that we don’t always agree with.
Let’s destroy him as we fight for lost souls together in unity.
And let’s show the world that we are different through our love.
Be blessed and never stop loving, especially those who are hardest to love. -Anna… ♥
“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” –John 15:12