Sunday, August 16, 2015

My Thoughts on Toxic Christians: Part 2

This is Part 2 of My Thoughts on Toxic Christians. If you missed Part 1, you can read it here:

6. The “Culture is Evil and Scary” Christian: When a person rants against culture, they are usually talking about the life outside of the Christian church and activities. However, culture is itself is not evil. Culture is simply the behaviors, beliefs, values, and symbols that are accepted and passed on from one generation to the next. There is culture all around us: our region of the country, our cities/towns, our families, schools, age groups, and even our churches. I find the Christians who fear culture often will try to protect themselves by living in a corruption free bubble. I agree with Mr. Powell that this belief can be toxic because it can lead to isolation and is how most cults are formed when the outside world is shut out. Christians are called to go out into the world and spread the gospel. How can we do that if we shut ourselves away?

7. The “I love Jesus but not the church” Christians: In the defense of the Christians who say “but not the church,” they are usually referring to a particular congregation that they feel wronged by even disenchanted with. I have left churches in which I felt did not have a place for me or I had outgrown or simply did not feel comfortable being a part of. And it’s not that this Christian wants isolation, they want to a part of a church but feels he or she does not fit in or welcome either through their own faulty perspective or the actions of others. When my husband first become a Christian, he was fired up and wanted to get involved. However, he was told he was not ready to serve. How can you tell a person who wants to help he can’t? It’s not that he wanted to lead a sermon. This is the kind of attitude I’m talking about. While I do believe that having a church to worship and fellowship is important, I feel it is only a fraction of a Christian’s life, not the entirety.

8. The “God doesn’t work that way” Christian: I used to be a very black-n-white Christian, influenced by the church I was attending at the time. When I begin to study the Bible on my own, I realized that there are a lot of shades of grey simply because life is not so clean cut as we want it to be. People cannot fathom the greatness, the bigness, and the powerfulness of God. We try to understand Him in ways that our brain can handle. One of the hardest questions to answer is why. For example, I believe that everything happens for a reason. I believe that God allowed me to suffer two pregnancy losses because He saw a role that I needed to fill. I know many people who don’t like to think that God allows the death of a child. While the losses were painful and traumatic for me, I wouldn’t be able to fill that role had I not suffered the loss of two of my children. I now have another purpose in life to help others.

9.  The “Love to Pick a Fight” Christian: These Christians usually argue or discuss doctrine. Doctrine which is often man’s interpretation of the Bible. Sometimes it’s right and sometimes it’s wrong. I’ve learned that some people who argue loudly about doctrine don’t really understand it and want to try and prove that they do. For example, many years ago, I was on my way to a College Bible weekend and during the drive up, the discussion turned to Calvinism. At the time, I had never heard of Calvinism and I asked for more detail. The blank look I got from the person who was debating the loudest was very telling. He stumbled with his words before telling me that I wouldn’t understand. At the time, I was very insulted that he couldn’t take the time to give me the basics. However it was only much later when I encountered another person discussing Calvinism, did I realize that that young man didn’t truly understand what he was talking about but he wanted to sound like he did.

10. The “You can’t talk about that in church” Christian: I caught myself doing this at church a few weeks ago. The worship band was playing a song that isn’t a typical worship song. I leaned over to my husband and said, “I can’t believe they’re playing this song in church.” What I was really concerned about wasn’t the content of the song (which fit the theme of the day’s sermon) but who the song is associated with. The person who usually uses this protest to the topics discussed in sermons is more because the topics which makes them uncomfortable. Also, sometimes when a topic makes you feel uncomfortable because it speaks to you more deeply then you want. When Jesus taught, he wasn’t concerned with making people comfortable. He wanted to shake them awake from their old ways. To open their eyes to the sin in their lives. He made many enemies this way but He also gained many followers who were set free from the chains that society had put them in.

In conclusion, bottom line Christians are still humans. They still suffer the shortcomings and failure that all humans do. Just because someone is Christian does not mean they are perfect. It means they are a follower of Christ. That they strive to live their lives as He did. Sometimes they will succeed, sometimes they will fail. Remember just because someone is a Christian, as a Christian, you or I are not obligated to like them or hang out with them or have any deeper relationship. We are commanded by our Lord and Savior to love them as a child of God. To pray for them that the Lord will help them change their toxic ways. We are not to exclude them from fellowship. We must be better examples of Christ.