When did bold Christianity become bully Christianity?
I think it’s so interesting how our wonderful religious freedom has developed an unintended long-term consequence. Now, I love this freedom! It is truly what defines us as a people and culture. The consequence is some Christians now believe our beliefs should also be a legal requirement for others as well, and their method to attain control is harsh and condemning.
Ok, now that every Christian on the planet is mad at me, let me move to a different social context to explain this idea.
Imagine a missionary, only this one looks like Rambo. He sports a machine gun, massive muscles, and fights like a ninja. Oh yeah, and he is a Christian too. Pretend this guy goes from city to city with his brute force and makes everyone act like him. He then creates laws that force people to worship just like he does.
Is this evangelism? Well, actually no, he may have forced people into a behavior, but he doesn’t have their hearts. Sound familiar? It should, there are religions all around the world that do this. Christians can even fall into this when confidence in Christ’s ability to change someone’s heart turns to fear that they will lose social control. Here is the catch. God doesn’t want just social order, which is important; he wants the hearts of the people. Remember Christ came as a baby boy, not a spiritual Rambo forcing all to obey. There are many Christians who don’t understand that they are unintentionally acting just like the Pharisees they speak against. So why does this happen? These people value what they believe works for the state, or organization, over its individuals. You are probably thinking, “What does that have to do with anything?” Pay close attention to this next quote.
C.S. Lewis says it like this: “If individuals live only seventy years, a state, or a nation, or a civilization, which may last for a thousand years, is more important than the individual. But if Christianity is true, then the individual is not only more important but incomparably more important, for he is everlasting and the life of a state or a civilization, compared with his, is only a moment.”
So here is the bottom line. If we as Christians fought for the hearts of people as much as we fight for Biblical control, we would look more like Christ intended us to. Standing for truth is important, but we must never forget our method of doing so is important as well. We fight for that which lasts forever. People. Actually Jesus says it best: “…You have neglected the more important matters of the law: justice, mercy, and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.” (Matthew 23:23 NIV) Do you notice how these are personal and powerful LAWS given from God that show love for the individual? The amazing thing is when we win the hearts of people… we also get the order.
Let that sink in for a moment…