Are Christians Really So Hateful?

church2I’ve pretty much had it. Every article I read about the response of Christians to the same-sex marriage ruling by the Supreme Court seems to be an indictment. Some serious head-shaking at the missed opportunity Christians had, but didn’t seize, to show the love of Christ. Recrimination over Christians responding in anger. In other words, in one form or other, it’s been, Shame on you Christians for reacting so badly to the Supreme Court ruling that has changed our culture.

One article, for example, in listing out six ways Christians blew it, said this:

We could have looked around at the hurt generated this past week; at the deep sadness so many LGBT people and their loved ones felt at being the center of such violent arguments and the horrible aftermath of them, and responded in love. We could have moved toward them with the mercy and gentleness of Christ, seeking to be the binders of the wounds. Instead, far too many of us felt compelled to rub salt deeply into them. We basically walked past those who were down—and we kicked them hard on the way. (John Pavlovitz)

My first thought is, Where are all the posts responding in anger? I haven’t read them. Perhaps I was somewhere else when all the kicking took place. I haven’t seen it. In fact, I didn’t see a lot of LGBT people in deep sadness. Most I saw were celebrating by putting rainbows on their Facebook avatars and rushing to the court house for marriage licenses.

On the other hand of course is the exhortation that we Christians aren’t taking this same-sex marriage ruling seriously enough (see Matt Walsh), or that we’re not doing enough to fight it or are doing too much to fight it.

I come away from it all feeling beaten down, like Christians who believe the Bible are misbehaving.

The topper for me was an article that actually came out some time ago about the Christian’s attitudes and actions being more like the Pharisees than like Jesus Christ. The conclusions were reached from a 2013 research project by the Barna Group, a Christian research organization. The conclusions were reached by identifying five attitudes and five behaviors of Christ and five attitudes and five behaviors of Pharisees, then respondents were asked which they agreed with.

This could have been a very interesting study, but in truth, the statements seemed more consistent with Love Wins than with the four Gospels.

Here are the attitudes and actions chosen to represent Christ:

Actions like Jesus:

I listen to others to learn their story before telling them about my faith.
In recent years, I have influenced multiple people to consider following Christ.
I regularly choose to have meals with people with very different faith or morals from me.
I try to discover the needs of non-Christians rather than waiting for them to come to me.
I am personally spending time with non-believers to help them follow Jesus.

Attitudes like Jesus:

I see God-given value in every person, regardless of their past or present condition.
I believe God is for everyone.
I see God working in people’s lives, even when they are not following him.
It is more important to help people know God is for them than to make sure they know they are sinners.
I feel compassion for people who are not following God and doing immoral things.

I’m more mystified by the attitudes attributed to Jesus, though I don’t think the actions are accurate either. God-given value? I don’t know how His conversations with the Pharisees revealed Jesus’s belief that they had God-given value. When someone was setting himself against God, Jesus openly opposed them.

Did He show God is for everyone? When He told the Samaritan woman that He wouldn’t heal her child because He’d come to the Jews, did that communicate His belief that God is for everyone?

Other places in Scripture let us know that in fact God takes no delight in the death of the wicked, that He desires all to come to Him, that His plan was for the nations to follow Israel’s example as His chosen people, and that now He has brought together people of all nations and tribes and tongues into His body, the Church. But was that Jesus’s message? I don’t think so. He praised those of faith and commended the Samaritan woman on that level (and therefore healed her child). But He didn’t start a healing ministry in Samaria. I think you’d have a hard time validating the idea that Jesus showed God is for everyone.

I could go through the whole list, but that’s not my intention here. The point is, I don’t think those actions and attitudes are a fair reflection of who Jesus is and what He said and did when He was on earth. So comparing Christians to that caricature of Him is bound to make Bible believers look different from the artificial construct.

Reading that report was the last straw. Christians are being blamed and bashed, but a lot of the unpleasantness isn’t coming from people who believe the Bible.

I think it’s telling that no Christians rioted in the streets or burned down gay bars or bombed a gay pride parade. I haven’t read a single blog post in which a Christian cussed out gays. If these things are happening or if a vocal group like the Westboro Baptist few is hurling insults at homosexuals, it’s more an indication that they are pretend Christians than evidence that Christians are behaving badly.

Please, can we Christians at least stop bashing Christians!

No, we aren’t perfect. We have not prized marriage as we should and have left the door open to the perversion of the covenant God invited men and women to make with one another. Yes, this redefinition of marriage is a game changer in our culture, but it doesn’t change the mandate we have to share the good news with the lost.

Rather than pointing fingers at what we didn’t do in the past or should have done in the present or had better do in the future, perhaps we can let Scripture guide us into all truth. Who knows better and who cares more for the Church than Christ? We are, after all, His bride.

I’m not sure why we think it’s OK to beat up on the Church. After all, we’re clothed in the righteousness of Christ; we’ve been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb; we’ve been rescued from the dominion of darkness; we’ve been saved by God’s grace, through faith. We are who Christ is making us. When we rail against the Church, aren’t we, in a way, railing against God Himself?

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Published in: on July 8, 2015 at 6:51 pm  Comments (18)  
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18 Comments

  1. Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:
    NOT NECESSARILY….BUT THE WORLD HATES US AND LIKES TO PUT WORDS IN OUR MOUTHS ACCORDING TO THEIR STEREOTYPED VIEW OF US!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Jonathan. I appreciate you making the article available to your followers.

      Becky

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Becky, I believe much of this is coming from naive, foolish Christians. They have only ever been taught how to respond if someone very honestly says, “I hate you.” But when someone says, “You hate me,” they react without discernment and with guilt and defensiveness, and/or try to make themselves “good cop.” They do not ask if what the person is saying is true or if the person might have flawed judgment. In other words, they do not ask if the accusation is a false one–based on narcissistic desires to manipulate. And then they have no clue how to respond to a false accusation with grace and firmness, calling it for what it is and saying, “You are not telling the truth, but only saying that to try to get me to do something for you. What is it?”

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    • Thanks for your input, Stephen. Interesting to consider why others are Church bashing at such a time as this. One of the things we must consider, I believe, is that some who say they are part of the Church are actually wolves dressed in their Sunday best. Not for us to judge, but also not for us to listen if they are giving a discouraging message or a “live by works” message. We were saved by grace and we are to live by grace—walking in a manner worthy of our calling.

      None of that means we are to be jerked about by the fads and trends of our day, rushing to do right by this group or by that group. We make things too complicated when we try to take the reins from God.

      Becky

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  3. Amen, Becky. It’s a bit funny and ironic, in the midst of all this debate about how hateful Christians allegedly are, what we’re actually arguing over is how best to show our love to people. So much for the hateful Christian meme.

    The truth of the matter is that it doesn’t matter how we feel or how others feel, what matters is what scripture says. The issue is pretty cut and dry as far as I’m concerned.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love that you see the humor, IB. And then you help me to see it, too. Yes, quite ironic! I agree, this is not a complicated issue. We are to speak the truth in love, we are to love our fellow Christians, our neighbors, our enemies. I suspect that includes any LGBT folks that cross our path as well. I don’t see Christians disagreeing on this point, though some seem to be accusing us of doing so. Maybe because we’re also still speaking the truth. But that’s just a guess.

      Becky

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I really like this post. There is something so honest about it, that I for one, have been very afraid of acknowledging. The truth is that when the whole world is celebrating something a group of people disagree with, there is the tendency to treat said group with some level of contempt. It’s human nature. Now that there is so much attention on LGBTQ rights, it’s very easy to see christians as hateful and act maliciously towards us. We are not perfect, but we’re just speaking our truth, just as everyone else is.

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    • Thanks, Alheri, I appreciate your feedback. You’re right—it’s easier to duck and cover, to try to dodge the flack that the world wants to throw our way instead of standing out in the open and saying, I don’t hate you (just the opposite!), but I can’t pretend I think what you’re doing is right or good for you or for society, and I still need to warn you that you are in opposition to God.

      It’s not a fun message to deliver. But the Old Testament prophets all understood that, so we’re in good company. 😉

      Becky

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Well said, Becky. Brava.

    Erin Valentine

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    • Thanks, Erin. I appreciate you stopping by. (Would love to catch up some time).

      Becky

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  6. Great post! Amen!

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  7. Just wrote about this meself…
    http://madelynlang469.com/2015/07/02/remember-your-family/

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    • Good post, Madelyn. Nice to know other Christians are addressing this issue as well.

      Becky

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Our pastor spoke about this last Sunday and his main point was taked from Mark 12:30-31

    30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’[a] 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] There is no commandment greater than these.”

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    • That’s it, Valerie. I don’t think God has changed His mind about this just because we’re experiencing a societal upheaval! 😉 We are still to be about kingdom business. That simply has not changed.

      Becky

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  9. Becky, you ask if Christians really are hateful. Let’s take an example. Two adults are in love with each and want to commit to spending their lives together in the traditional bonding ceremony of our society.

    Christians tell them their love isn’t real, or it is evil, the work of an invisible evil spirit, or their own sin. Christians tell them that the almighty creator deity God doesn’t want them to share their lives with each other. Christians tell them they should both either live alone or commit to marrying someone they don’t love in the same way.

    Christians tell them they know this is the truth because they have book that was written thousands of years ago by men who had never seen a loving long-term homosexual relationship and didn’t mention if such a thing would be acceptable, but did take time to condemn promiscuous homosexual sex. So Christians are even basing their condemnation on conjecture, in the light of much greater understanding about how relationships can work.

    Christians like you and your friends are telling other people that their love is wrong, and that their deepest feelings are evil. Christians like you have driven thousands of people (or more) to depression and suicide because you made them feel so awful for simply existing and being themselves.

    I’m not clear why you can’t see that as hateful, cruel, and contrary to every example set by your man-god, the character Jesus, in the writings of the Bible.

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  10. […] Are Christians Really So Hateful? […]

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  11. I wrote about this in a coffee chat when the supreme court passed the law. (http://elihuscorner.com/2015/06/26/coffee-chat-3-obeying-god-rather-than-men/)

    I got into a few heated arguments on Facebook when this all went down. I was told that I shouldn’t care and it doesn’t affect me and “how dare you judge” etcetera. I was even told that I was stupid for believing in God.

    Bring it on.

    “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but profuse are the kisses of the enemy.”

    As I told the people on Facebook and elsewhere, if I was being hateful, I’d keep my mouth shut, but I care about the souls of people and I see this as a path to destruction. How can I stay silent and claim to be loving?

    There is a very skewed idea of what constitutes love and hate. It makes me angry to be told that because I don’t approve I am hateful. The irony is that I was on the receiving end of hate for stating God’s Biblical truths.

    That’s hate I can take.

    One thing I said repeatedly is that I will continue to speak of God and His truth until that right is forcibly taken away, and even then… May God give me the strength to do so!

    A parent who loves their child will stop them from being hit by a bus. The child may be angry that you stopped them from doing what they wanted to, but often they don’t realize the gravity of the situation they were saved from. A parent who loves their child disciplines and teaches and corrects. Any parent can tell you that at some point their child will be angry at them for their correction. It’s hard, but that’s real love.

    Thanks for these posts Rebecca. It has encouraged and refreshed me!

    Liked by 1 person


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