Have you ever sat in a coffee shop or restaurant and listened to people at a neighboring table talk poorly about someone? What about at Church? Do we gossip with other Christians? Are we unifying or divisive in our nature? These are questions I want us to all reflect on as we, God’s beloved Church, deal with the impact of our how actions are perceived by those around us.
In fact, recently I have been doing a lot of reading on social media regarding subjects that can cause division. I do so not only to study the topic, but to analyze how we engage fellow believers. You see, I recently sat with an unchurched friend of mine and he said, in the midst of the conversation, “why is it I see more Christians arguing and fighting than those outside of the Church?” It pained me. I am a debater by nature and can get emotionally attached, just as any one would, but as a Christian I try my best to hold myself back from those times in which the conversation turns to something that isn’t uplifting.
To illustrate this point further, I recently watched the video that was posted by Mars Hill Church where their Pastor, Mark Driscoll, discussed the turmoil that his Church was going through. He apologized to his community and described their next steps. I got a note later from a friend who is not a fan of Driscoll which asked “should we forgive him?” At first I was a taken back, but then the societal norm poked its nasty head as the note continued on with an attack. My response was “he didn’t harm me in any way – nor did he my family. I am not a member of the Mars Hill community, and if I were then there is no doubt that I would.” We had a good dialogue that ended in a healthy manner and I asked if I could use that discussion in an article I was writing and he agreed. That being said, the whole issue reminds me of a quote from C.S. Lewis,
“The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us.”
It is a great quote from Lewis because it is true. Part of our journey in knowing God is to better understand His love. We must come to grips that we are not good by nature, but that through His love we are made good. I find it all troubling because the reality is no one is perfect. We all have flaws regardless of how we try to cover them up. Why is it then we find it so easy to talk poorly about someone? Why do we as a culture fail to extend grace and love easily? If those things come at a cost, what is the cost? Do we allow judgment and anger to rule our hearts, rather than love and compassion?
I would urge you to take a stand on the matter – few are. Philippians 2:2 says,
“Make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.”
It’s time we as Christians learn what it means to truly be a positive influence. On his twitter recently, Noah Curran said, “tell people what you love, not what you hate.” I can’t think of a better way to start correcting this issue that is plaguing the Church. And, it starts with each and everyone of us. So, how will you respond?