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Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Why Christians are so mean

I came across a pretty interesting passage the other day. One that I have read many times before, because it was in Romans. A book I have highlighted, underlined and written many notes in the margin to.  But here I was reading it, and I realized something: This passage in chapter 12 verses 9-16 are written by Paul to other Christians. Now that is not unusual in and of itself, but here is what I never realized. It was written to other Christians, telling them how to treat other Christians.
The first part starts out with how we need to love without hypocrisy. How we need to be kind, not lazy, patient and diligent. And then this. Bless them who persecute you; bless and curse not. 
Wait one second here. I am being told to bless people who are persecuting me, and these people who may be persecuting me could be Christians?? It was so interesting because just the week before, I was having a conversation with Adam about how the people in my life who have been the most hurtful, have been Christians. And I just didn't get it. I still don't. But the thing is, Paul is saying that there is a problem that has been going on for years and that is persecution towards Christians, from Christians.
This should not be. The problem is, people who are "Christians" are supposed to be Christ followers. If you are following Christ, that means that you are doing things the way Christ did them. How was that? Well. He tells us to seek peace and pursue it. He tells us to think of others as better than ourselves. He tells us be kind one to another, to speak evil of no man, and on and on it goes. 
So why is it that Christians are so mean?
I wish I knew. Sorry for the let down, because I just plain don't know the answer. The times I have been hurt the most, the people should have known better. They should have thought before they spoke, they should have thought of someone besides themselves and their own feelings. But they didn't. And so when I think about these people who are choosing self over others, I have to be careful that I don't become that same mean person. 
The way I look at it is: I have a reputation to uphold. And it is not my own. It's Christ's.
If the way I treat other people is a supposed to be a representation of how Christ treated other people?  I better be incredibly careful how I choose to treat people. Makes sense, right?
If I can't uphold the reputation of what being a Christian really is, then I should not even call myself one. Now, I'm not talking perfection. Clearly, none of us can ever get to the point where we are never mean, and are always thinking of others as better than ourselves. But we should be able to recognize the times we are mean, and make things right. We should be able to get to the point where we are not mean the majority of the time. If we don't, we are not holding up to what the name Christian really means.
So the next time a Christian is mean to you. Don't be surprised. Just make sure you don't become so cynical that you start lumping all Christians into the same mold. All "Christians" are not the same. Anyone can say they are a Christian. Not everyone acts like one. 
So the reason Christians are so mean? I don't know. But according to Paul, it's been around for quite a while. And when we find ourselves being faced with a mean Christian, we are told to bless them. Bless them and not curse at them. ha! It actually says curse them, not curse at them. But I think Paul knew. Because, come on now. We are only human after all. And Paul liked to keep it real. So I think he meant both. Basically. Keep your mouth shut from yelling out those words that come to your mind when you are being treated by people who are supposed to be treating you kindly. And not only keep your mouth shut, but bless them. 
Come on, Paul. Don't you know how hard that is? I can keep my mouth shut sometimes when I am thinking mean things back. But now you're saying I have to bless them on top of it? Oy. But hey. If Paul says to do it, it means that it's physically possible. Not easy, for sure. But still. Physically possible.
So if you are a mean Christian? Either stop claiming the name, or start acting like Christ. 
And if you are being treated meanly by other Christians? Don't curse them. Or curse at them. Bless them. You really can do it.

3 comments:

  1. So good. thanks for sharing dear friend. #nameitandclaimit

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  2. This is great.

    ReplyDelete

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