Tears Instead Of Jeers

A friend of mine shared an online exchange with me between several professing Christians. Here’s what one person said, in part:

[Name redacted] LIAR! This is my last post because I just caught you LYING, you little devil. Did you see the post BEFORE you made that statement? ….
Me: The bible isn’t God’s word. 🙂 It’s man’s.
You: Says you, part of “man” yourself. Sorry, no true Chris…tian should accept your authority (!) over God’s Word.
So, obviously your statement referred to the bible because that’s what we were talking about. You can go back even further to earlier posts to confirm this. You GOT CAUGHT and just proved that you are NOT of God!

[Name redacted – same poster] REPENT YOU LITTLE DEVIL!!!

Earlier I wrote about Christopher Hitchens, a famous atheist who has terminal cancer. Apparently there have been a number of responses to his occasional blog post updates about his condition that run along the lines of, You’re getting what you deserve, you heathen. As I read Mr. Hitchens’s reaction to these comments (and some emails, I believe), I got the impression that the tone was more gleeful than regretful.

A little further back, I had a discussion with another blogger on his site—a blog dedicated to ridiculing those he thought were false teachers. This followed on the heels of my being banned from a blog site for reasoning with a writer who threw out ridicule and name-calling at a famous Bible teacher he accused of holding false doctrine.

This accumulation of incivility, at best, has taken me off guard. I’ve thought much of the media portrayal of Christians—often shown waving signs with mean-spirited messages at rallies against those holding to liberal cultural views—was over the top. In other words, the camera sought out the craziest, meanest, loudest of the bunch and the media showed that footage over and over in an effort to paint all people taking a stand against those views with the same brush. It’s a way of saying, Christians are hateful, without ever actually saying the words.

But these instances I cited weren’t played out in front of a camera, at a rally, or sussed out by the media. These are people talking to and about other people, albeit in the less personal venue of cyberspace.

And these are not just people. These are professing Christians. Folks who claim, at some level, to be upholding Truth and following after Jesus Christ.

How ironic, then, that their actions, when confronted with someone running from God, are so different from His. Here is what Jesus said about Jews who would not accept Him as their Messiah after issuing a dire warning:

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, just as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not have it!
– Luke 13:34 (emphasis mine)

And lest we forget, of those who crucified Jesus, He said, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34b)

Scripture records the Apostle Paul’s reaction to false teachers in the book of Philippians:

For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ
– Phil 3:18 (emphasis mine)

So when, I wonder, did the longing of Christ and the tears of the apostle turn into the jeers of professing Christians?

Have we become so acculturated that we see nothing wrong with using the same rancor the world uses? Or have wolves slipped in amongst us dressed in lamb’s wool and we’re too afraid to make the call?

May John’s clear words be our guide:

If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.
– 1 John 4:20-21

Published in: on November 18, 2010 at 6:29 pm  Comments (6)  
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  1. I’ve encountered the same attitudes on several sites over the years, Becky. From professing Christians and acknowledged atheists. It’s disheartening to see a growing trend of people who hide rancor behind a mask of righteousness, people who consider ‘snarky’ comments the highest form of humor, and people who appear to believe that he who yells the loudest and longest wins. Good for your stance on civility.


  2. Ouch, Becky! I hope you said something equally appropos on that blog…


  3. Here’s the deal: there are many people professing Christ. Professing it and walking out the faith end up as polar opposites for some. There are times for the harsh comments (Christ also called them a brood of vipers and white-washed tombs with dead men’s bones), but when people resort to this kind of conduct, they don’t demonstrate the basic factor/definition of how to recognize a Christian: You will know them/us by their/our love. We can love in disagreement, even in being stern, but somehow we must project the basis for our faith which is forgiveness through the incomparable love of Jesus.


  4. Good post Becky. We do not rejoice in evil, sin, or ignorant actions/words of others. We choose to love and treat people the way we would want to be treated, following the guidelines God has in his Word.


  5. If this ‘following Christ’ shtick was easy, *everyone* would be doing it.

    (Not an excuse for stumbling, but an acknowledgment of how rocky is the way.)

    Also – from last week’s second reading: “We hear that some are conducting themselves among you in a disorderly way, by not keeping busy but minding the business of others. Such people we instruct and urge in the name of Jesus Christ to work quietly and eat their own food.” (Thess 3:12)


  6. Thanks all for your comments. You make me think more deeply about the topic, and I appreciate you taking the time to give your thoughts.



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