Cutting Off Our Branches

Does it become a problem when we undermine judging in the Christian community? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

There is a facebook group with the following quotes on it I want to share with you.

“Folks, We have a Person Who Seems To Find It Amusing To Hate, First Off Stay OFF MY Page, You Have Been Reported to Facebook For You Continued Abuse, I Didn’t Appreciate You Trying to Advertise Your Hate the Other Night On MY Fan Page, STAY AWAY, TAKE YOUR HATE AWAY, This Page Is Supportive, and YES I BAN Anyone Who Is Critical Or Hateful Of Our Community, 2600 People Like What I am Doing, and You Have What 14? You Will Be Shut Down Soon, and DO NOT I REPEAT DO NOT POST ON OUR PAGE!”

“Reminder For Our New Folks, This Page is For Support, and Education of The practice featured in (X). If you Want to Hate, Or Judge, This Isn’t The Place. I work Very Very Hard for this Page To Remain a Supportive Page, I’ve Had Some People From Dayton Ohio Recently Try to Start Their own Page in Criticism of Mine, and That’s Fine, Hater’s NOT WELCOME HERE!”

“The Name of The Person Who Decided to Start the Hate Page Is
(X) From Dayton Ohio, Please Folks Tell Her To Stay Away, and Keep Her Hate in Ohio.”

The bad grammar and such aside, when you see something like this, it recalls immediately an attitude we see elsewhere. Where is that? It’s in the homosexual community as people who are outside the group are labeled as “haters” and criticism is not allowed. Only those who are supportive of the community are allowed.

The only problem is, these posts do not come from the homosexual community.

These posts I found while researching the snake handling stories. They’re found on the Snake Salvation page. Don’t believe it? Look for yourself.

When I see the Christian community using terminology exactly the same as the homosexual community, that’s quite concerning. In fact, one such post has the name of someone who has dared to criticize. You might as well be saying “Please go and harass this person!”

Hate is a term that is being tossed around so carelessly, including in groups such as We Stop Hate. The problem is that people are not really thinking about what it means to hate something.

In fact, if you love anything, you will HAVE to hate something. It’s not optional. Since I love my wife, I am to hate everything that is harmful to her. Since I love Christ, I am to hate everything that is opposed to Him. Since I love the truth, I am to hate lies. Since I love the good, I am to hate evil.

Would you like it if you met someone who did not hate rape? What about someone who did not hate pedophilia or child abuse? Do you want to meet someone who doesn’t hate cancer or disease? What do you think of someone who doesn’t hate evil?

Instead, many of these groups run on a whole self-esteem idea with a goodness being based on yourself somehow, though it’s not really expressed how. If you want to find your goodness, you are to look within. Now of course, there’s nothing wrong necessarily with thinking good about yourself, though in Scripture we are told to think of ourselves as we ought. We should seek to see ourselves as we really are. Our goodness does not come from us, but it comes from Christ.

If my value relies entirely on me, that is putting a much greater burden on me in fact and pushing me to think I have to be much better. If I place my value in Christ, then I can see that I have worth as long as Christ loves me and since that is something that doesn’t change, my worth never changes. Of course I can grow in Christlikeness, but I have a constant foundation for my goodness.

It is when these ideas of our goodness being rooted in how we feel about ourselves takes hold that our feelings and experiences start to get a divine authority and in fact, everyone else is subject to them. Each one of us becomes a god unto himself. The worst crime you can do against someone becomes offending them.

Yet most of us know that it has been necessary to offend people in the past. We have to tell people cold hard truths a lot of time and they don’t like it. Most of us today really don’t like it, even though we are told in Scripture that to be rebuked by a wise man is a blessing.

But today, all you have to do is tell people that you are offended by something and immediately you become a rallying cry that other people will support. It is not asked “Could the reason for this offense be valid?” It is not even asked “Is this really offensive?” All that matters is that the person finds it offensive.

This has also led to our victimization culture. Consider the campaign against bullying today. Yeah. No one cares for bullies, but the bullying campaign has given them too much credit. Everyone in this world is going to face critics at times. Some will be people who honestly want to help build us up. Others will be people who want nothing more than to tear us down.

You want to limit bullying? The best way to do it is to help the people who are being targeted by teaching them the proper way to think about themselves, especially within the context of Biblical principles. Help them realize where their true worth comes from and that bullies like this are to be ignored. When we were growing up in school, many of us had the rule of “Ignore inappropriate behavior.” Bottom line is that if something someone tells you about yourself is not true, why should you worry about it? (And yes, I’m still learning this one as well) If it is true, then do something to fix it.

Instead, what we do is say that you just can’t judge anyone at all. People are labeled as haters. I have no doubt that soon if not already, groups like “We Stop Hate” will be just as tolerant as the homosexual lobby. By just as tolerant, I of course mean seeking to out everyone that disagrees with them and refusing to return the tolerance that they have been seeking.

Tolerance in these circles is a one-way street.

So what does this have to do with the Snake Salvation page?

When we have groups like this in Christianity saying that haters and such will not be allowed, we are taking the exact same stance as homosexual groups. Now if you want to have a closed group that is there for your mutual edification and such, then do that. That’s fine. However, as soon as you go public with your ideas, then it is only proper to allow them to be publicly criticized and questioned. If you cannot take it, then don’t get it out there.

Question for those of you wanting to promote the gospel. Are you ever going to have to criticize? The answer is yes. You are going to have to judge people. You are going to have to tell them they are on the wrong path. You are going to have to tell them that they are living in rebellion against Jesus Christ, the rightful king of this world.

If you make yourself be above criticism and reproach, how can you possibly be allowed to give someone the gospel? They can use the exact same line back at you. After all, the gospel can be seen as hate speech since it includes in it that people are sinners. It indicts them of crimes against God and tells them they’re worthy of eternal separation from Him.

So many Christians are wanting to say today that they shouldn’t judge and cringe at the thought that they have judged someone. They can’t avoid it really! If you are to call sin sin, you are to make a judgment.

Judging is not a dirty word.

“But didn’t Jesus say judge not”?

Yes. He is talking about hypocritical judging. He tells you in the same passage to not toss pearls to swine or give what is sacred to dogs. You have to know what each of those are to judge. He tells you to look out for false prophets, a judgment. He tells you to choose the narrow way over the wide, a judgment. He never even tells you to not take the speck out of your brother’s eye, but instead to first take the log out of your own.

Either Jesus is not opposed to all judging, or He was a fool who contradicted His own teaching immediately.

I’ll go with the first one. Jesus was no fool.

I cannot help but be concerned when I see the church using the exact same language as the homosexual community. The church must be open to criticism. (And I assure most critics that I have criticized the behavior of the church far more than they have) The church must be open to hearing where we’ve gone wrong. We all must be open to that in our own lives. We must be willing to examine both sides of debates and disagreements and see which one has the stronger case and whichever one does, we must be able to make a case for why it is rather than using intimidation alone to silence the opposition.

The position that should hold sway in the marketplace of ideas is the one that has the better arguments. If your position does not have that, then no amount of intimidation will make up for it. No amount of following the crowd or culture can compensate for a lack of argumentation. It all comes down to the question of “What is truth?”

Which is, again, a judgment.

If we’re sure we’re in the truth, let us be open to the judgment that we are not. If we are in fact, then no harm. We could be even stronger. If we’re not, then thanks to whoever got us out of it for they removed us from a lie.

Making ourselves immune to criticism will not help our stance one iota. We dare not follow the lead of the world. We are to walk in step with Christ instead.

In Christ,
Nick Peters