A Christian’s worst enemy

  • Sumo

A Christian’s worst enemy is usually another Christian.

By this, I don’t mean sinful gossip or slander. Nor have I in mind deliberate violent action. I have in mind the casual put-down, the conversational mockery, the throw-away snub.

Here’s one that’s typical. It’s modified to highlight the standard pattern, and because the original source is irrelevant.

While most Christians stay silent about [real social problem], [cultural identity] doesn’t.

[Real social problem] might be: poverty, mental health, racism, ecology, trade injustice, etc.
[Cultural identity] can be: an author, an NGO, a different religion, schools, etc.

The pattern is all over the place. I’ve seen it in Christian publication, book reviews, blogs, guest speaker introductions, magazines and probably a dozen places I will never remember.

And I hate it.

Why? So many reasons! (Time for that famous blog format – a list.)

  1. It’s smug
    ‘I’m not like all those other Christians – I see the problem.’
  2. It’s slander
    Unless, of course, you have some reason to show that the church was overwhelmingly different from society (different in a bad way). If you are an expert, shoot live rounds. If you really don’t know, then hold fire
  3. It hates what God loves
    If Revelation shows us anything about human organisations, it’s that the church survives while all other forces die. And the church survives with joy and beauty. The wedding supper of the lamb (Revelation 19:6-9) has a guest list to die for – Jesus did and his followers continue to
  4. It lacks faith
    When I search my life – and yours too! – as well as look at churches, I remain unimpressed. Such a mess we make… Yet the bride of Revelation 19 is dressed in white linen for good works. These works are given by and empowered by God. God promises to complete his work of making a holy people. Do we trust our sight or his promise, our own power or his Spirit?
  5. It’s such casual hatred
    If you hate Christians, at least be honest. Rant and rave and express the outrage at whatever sins we’ve committed. Or be fair dinkum like some of the atheist opponents of all things ‘god.’ Please don’t fall for the casual, ‘Yeah, Christians are mostly losers’

Who knows the effect of such regular casual put-downs? This way of speaking of fellow Christians surely cannot spur us to Christ-imitating self-sacrificial love for God’s children. I can’t see it moving us to lay down our lives for the brothers (1 John 3:16).

So, the testing question for author and reader: how do you speak of God’s people?