I read a lot of blogs and a lot of Facebook posts. In the last two or three years I’ve added more fellow Christians to my daily reading simply because I found fellow Christians who also like to talk about books and movies and stuff in addition to the Bible. Not that I don’t love talking about the Bible, because I do. But all Bible all the time leaves you stilted and narrow. The Bible can turn into that Bushel you hide your light under, you know? So easily, too.
The one bad thing about reading more Christian blogs is that I’ve encountered more Christians with opinions and many times those opinions make me want to slice open that coffin where my old self is lying dormant and let her out to be violent.
Nothing. Not one thing. No single thing makes me angrier than this. Ever since Christians decided that turning the other cheek like Jesus told us to wasn’t necessary because we are fighting a culture war and that kind of fighting is somehow good and if Jesus knew about the Culture War he’d agree for sure…ever since then there have been a great number of us who have decided that it is our responsibility to God to be rude to other people.
Somehow the directions about loving neighbours and turning cheeks and sharing coats and feeding the hungry just seem so uncool. After all, people say “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” and they either kill or love the wrong people. (We want them to love babies and kill gay people, apparently. Not the other way around.) So it’s been deemed fine to pick or prolong these fights.
Time and again I see those who adopt this take-no-converts stance also justify it by quoting Luke 6:22-23.
Blessed are you when people hate you,
when they exclude you and insult you
and reject your name as evil,
because of the Son of Man.
23 “Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets.
This is pulled wildly out of context. There are people who hate Jesus and hate Christians. That’s no secret and I’m not going to pretend they aren’t out there. I’m friends with some of them, actually. And it does hurt to have people treat you badly because of your religion, I won’t deny that either.
That does not mean that we have permission to aggravate, harass, bully, and abuse people to the point of getting them to hate us back. If you’re turning the other cheek and forgiving seventy-times-seven and all of those other things we’re supposed to do and people still hate you, then okay. Blessed be you and have a little dance. But if you’re calling people abominations and hacking away at their self-definitions and exploiting their weaknesses to the point where they break and lash out at you? You’re no hero. You’re no martyr of the faith.
You are an ass.
Oh, and one other thing to consider. As an American you do have freedom of speech. That means the government can’t tell you what you can and can’t say.
But as a Christian you do NOT have freedom of speech. You answer to an authority higher and purer and righter than our government. And that authority has made you its ambassador, has called you to be a light on a hill and a salt to bring flavour. That authority has told you to love and not judge. That authority has told you to turn the other cheek.