Arguments stink. No matter how hard you try to cover up the stench it seeps through. We dress it up by calling it a debate, or a lively discussion, or perhaps (Lord help us) we mask it in the disguise of “breaking open” the word of God. It’s interesting to me that we only find two arguments between Christians in all of the New Testament. You can read about one of them here. It’s simple. It was an argument, and that’s what Paul called it. In fact, it was an argument with a brother in Christ which teaches me two things.
1) It’s OK to disagree and argue with a Christian about something you don’t agree with
2) We argue about the wrong things a lot.
I find it interesting that none of the arguments we find in scripture have anything to do with anything that’s going on outside of the church. Everything that is addressed are issues that those who call themselves Christian’s are struggling with. You know the little things, like sleeping with your fathers wife, don’t know about that one check it out here. Gross eh? I can’t find any verse that essentially says, “And then (fill in your favorite apostle or if your really spiritual Jesus) said, to everyone who was standing around him. “Stop acting like non Christians!” You know why he never says that? Because they are not Christians. They don’t believe in the hope that we believe in, they don’t live their life with the realization the Christ’s work on the cross both redeems us and calls us to a standard of living that may seem foreign to those around us. So maybe we should start repeating what those apostles we admire so much always said, “Follow Jesus.” There is a big difference between follow Jesus, and stop acting like a non-Christian.
I bring this up, because as of late I have been greatly disheartened by the rhetoric I have seen thrown around haphazardly on such mediums as social networking. So let me just do some reminding that I have to do for my self every once in awhile.
1) Christians- Your non Christian friends are not going to act like Christians. Stop being surprised by that, and stop posting shot gun blast status updates, that although they may be true, do nothing more than stoke the coals of the fire that is the mind set that we are all ignorant, bigoted, narrow minded Bible thumpers.
2) Non Christians- We are going to act like Christians. That means that we are going to push for our right to freedom in this country just as much as you are. Democracy is messy, obtaining it was messy, and keeping it will always be messy. Please stop shotgun blasting all of us with statements about how much we hate people. We don’t hate people (most of us anyway) we love people, and we love God. Are there hypocrites in our camp? Absolutely. Are there hypocrites in your camp? Absolutely. But here is an interesting truth, even hypocrites can tell the truth. All truth is God’s truth, no matter who’s mouth it comes from.
So to my Christian friends I say, pause, take a deep breath, and follow Jesus. Let him worry about convincing others that he is the one to follow.
To my non-Christian friends I say, pause, take a deep breath, stop calling us bigots, narrow minded, or hateful. Most of us really aren’t (granted some of us are), but realize we believe that Jesus Christ want’s the best life possible for us and we just want you to have that as well. Even if it seems a little but weird, and even if it comes out of the mouth of a hypocrite.