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Wednesday, September 12

Christians Acting Ugly

The other day I was skimming some comments left on a social media outlet. Most were encouraging and kind. Some people had a different opinion but stayed civil in their expressions.

Then there was a third group. A much smaller but a very loud group.

Their opinions dripped with judgement, harshness, and condemnation. And the saddest thing of all? These were Christians attacking another Christian.

Honestly, I don’t get it.

I just don’t. As I read their comments it seemed as if they felt compelled to rip this person to shreds in order to prove their view. To show how knowledgeable they were and how off-base this other Christian is. And most disturbing of all they felt it their duty to “protect God.”

But God doesn’t call man to protect Him. He calls us to love Him. And love others. Christians acting ugly and justifying it under the guise of holding another person in check isn’t loving.

Matthew 22:36-40 says, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the law?” Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Yes, there is a place to make sure others aren’t misaligning Truth. But we must do this carefully and first make sure we aren’t misaligning the Truth in our approach. Our response must contain these three things: justice, mercy, and humility. “The Lord has told you, human, what is good; he has told you what he wants from you: to do what is right to other people, love being kind to others, and live humbly, obeying your God, (Micah 6:8 NCV).

“It is right to see justice prevail. But it is wrong when my ego gets in the way- when I retaliate to prove that I am strong, that I am superior to the other person, that I am the almighty righteous cop for God.” (Bible commentary writer Michael J. Wilkins)

I guess I’m feeling a little sensitive about this subject today because I’ve had some personal ministry friends attacked and accused in the most vicious of ways. And a little of this yuck has slipped into my world as well.

Maybe this third group sees my ministry growing and assumes their words won’t effect me. Or worse yet, because my ministry is growing maybe they hope their words will effect me. Either way, it hurts.

The yuck has been from people who don’t know me … have never met me … and have never asked for any kind of clarification.

I know writing a simple blog isn’t going to fix this problem. But if it makes a few people stop and think before blasting someone – then it’s good. And most of all, if it reminds me to do what is right to other people … to love being kind to others … and to live a little more humbly – it’s really good.

God help us all.

Discussion

  1. 104
    Ms. Gregg Alison Barrette says:

    On another note, I wanted to let you know about a friend of mine. She spent her married life in the Russian Orthodox church, and so, didn’t know a whole lot about scripture, and yet, she lived God’s word in so many ways. She had been fighting cancer for about the last 10 years or so, and I would get to share God’s word with her, and pray with her, which really seemed to make a difference for her. This last year, after a couple of relatively cancer- free years, it came back. However, 2 summers ago, we went canoeing together, and she shared how she had been able to go to a Christian Summer camp, where she heard you speak. For the first time, she began to see the practical side of christianity about marriage, and it changed her life. This last year, from summer to winter, I was able to share enough of God’s word with her, so that she was not afraid, and she knew where she was going. I lost my friend, and I am still grieving, but, she knew God as her heavenly Father, and you had a very big role in that. Thank you for living and speaking God’s word the way you do- you helped plant and water His word in her life, and it made a huge difference. God bless you!

  2. 105
    Crystal Bancroft says:

    Lysa-When I joined the social network era-I have been deeply saddened by this same issue! I have been amazed at the number of Christians that look like the secular world with how they respond and use the social network. I believe our social network responses and usage should be like all other areas of our life-”To bring glory to God!”.

    • 106

      Amen! I have learned many lessons in my life of serving the Lord. This one is the single most important. We need to always be kind, to season any correction with the love and grace of God and to remember that we all have weaknesses and blind spots. It grieves me when I see unkind behavior in any forum, but particularly in one that is “Christian.”

  3. 107
    Letty Smith says:

    Hi Lysa,

    Well said on Christians being ugly. I couldn’t have said better myself!
    Love is a hard thing to do, but with God’s help we can do it.
    I love your posts and I pray that when ugly comments are sent our way,
    instead of making us upset and weak we can turn to God and give it all to Him…
    because we know that the enemy uses us christians for his ugly schemes on other
    christians and sometimes unfortunately he gets his way.

    Love you Lysa!!

  4. 108

    Lysa I totally know what you are talking about. I grew up catholic and one of the reasons I turned away from the catholic church was because of all the judgments made by the people who claimed to love god. I turned away from the church for several years in part because of the way these people acted. They certainly were not showing Gods love. Praise the lord I found a wonderful church 2 years ago with wonderful people and I am embracing the lord and learning everyday.
    On another note I and almost done reading Unglued and want to tell you what your honesty in the book helped so much. I can relate to so many stories and this book could not have come out at a more appropriate time in my life. Thank you for writing this and helping do many women know they are not alone.

  5. 109

    Yes, I need to learn the ability to be quiet more. Everyone makes mistakes. God is a God of forgiveness, and He asks us to be forgiving as well. Plus if we would all spend a bit more time honestly looking at our own lives and repenting of our own sins, there would be much less time to nitpick over the dust in the eyes of others. You are awesome Lysa!

  6. 110

    Thank you Lysa! I love that article and on occassion I have been guilty of it, mostly when I get overshadowed from my cancer issues. I am in remission but there have been times I dont feel good and am really tired and it seems like the devil gets to me in my weakness if I dont keep the Lord in the forefront at all times! Your articles are always a blessing and will convict me every time if I am guilty so please keep them coming! In Christ’s Love! Denise

  7. 111

    Amen & Amen!

    This morning I went to a Christian news blog and read a post about the Embassy attack and the death of our ambassador. There were Muslims who had come to the site and were literally spewing hatred and untruth in the comments. Do you know how they were answered? With similar hatred and if not untruth, at least misrepresentation. I thought, “How can we win them if we are just like them in our responses?” I so agree with your words that we aren’t here to DEFEND God. Through the ages He has been attacked. He can handle it. We are here to be a conduit of His love. Love the world does not have. I am all for defending truth/the Bible, but deliver it in love. Thanks for this post.

  8. 112

    Hi Lysa,
    Another great post! God has just convicted my heart to start a ministry for women focusing on their mindset and confidence , so I know well that as I move forward into this new territory I’ll may come under attack and be judged. My ego got the better of me for too long, and I ignored this calling because I believed I was not “ministry qualified” if you know what I mean. I feel strongly that if he’s calling me, he’s going to qualify me. I love your work, and I look forward to reading Unglued. Praying for both our ministries, and the women we serve. Love you!

  9. 113

    I have two favorite verses on the tongue one is James 1:10 be slow to speak, swift to hear and slow to wrath (wish I had followed that Sunday when I had an “unglued” moment!) and Proverbs 25:11 a word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver. That is how I want my words to be. Oftentimes in difficult situations or talking to people going through a difficult time (like E) I have found myself praying for words fitly spoken.

  10. 114

    Thank you. I have been hurt terribly and sometimes in response haven’t known how to handle in openness to help it. Maybe what you are doing will help people like me to have others see it is alright to say you have been hurt and ask people to not add to it and to stop.

  11. 115

    Um, kind of afraid to admit this but I want to tell you how thankful I am for stumbling upon you. I don’t think it was stumbling but our Heavenly Father guiding me to you!! I am convicted by what you shared. I, not so long ago, was in a to-do about the understanding of scriptures and I did not stop to think that I just needed to love and let God stand for himself. I openly apologized for lacking the presence of love towards my sister in Christ. You help so much in my struggle to become the best I can be not only in my faith but in everything. Since I have been paying attention and truly applying what I learn, my relationships have flourished. I still have blunders but I am no longer afraid to admit I was wrong and openly ask for forgiveness. Thank you for loving us as God loves you!!!!

  12. 116

    I wish I could get your message in this post out to all churches. I have worked with and been friends with many ministers’ children. Sadly attacks from congregations have left scars on many of these children – grown or young, some to the point of leaving their faith for a short or extended period. This is all the more reason to support our ministers! Their children are watching.
    So Lysa, you are one of my favorites! Thank you for sharing so openly. God has used your writing to change and work in me.

  13. 117

    Oh amen and amen! I see it over and over all the time and it breaks my heart. Great encouragement, Lysa.

  14. 118

    Very nicely put, Lysa. A gentle reminder never hurts. I love your gentle way and the encouragement I receive each time I read your blog. God Bless you.

  15. 119

    Hi, i am new to this website and just wanted to humbly respond to Melissa’s comment. i am a Catholic and just wanted to say the experiences we have as a result of people who we encounter in a certain church do not mean that all the people are that way or the whole church is that way. That would be like me saying I grew up Protestant, or Adventist, or or Baptist and I turned away from them because they were judgemental. We can experience judgemental people in any church because, after all we are all sinners. I dont mean any disrespect to Mellisa’s painful experience at all. I just love my faith so much and I love all Christians, we all love Christ! And lets pray for those who are in so much pain they feel the need to hurt others with their words. I am so sorry Lysa you have been hurt, do not let satan use those words to discourage you!

  16. 120

    This was such a nice way to start my day. I am not a “practicing Christian”, but I sincerely believe in the message of this post. It made me feel better about my day to know that other people may have also read this and been inspired to be a little more loving and a little less judgmental.