How’d you complete that statement in the title? Christians are… what? We showed this video at Eastside recently. In case you decided not to follow that link and watch it – it’s a short video showing actual Google results as this guy begins typing in questions and statements like “Why are Christians so a___” and would just let Google take a guess at what word he was looking for that begins with “a” … It’s a simple video but a powerful message. The top 3 guesses from Google on the “a” word – angry, annoying and arrogant. (Do yourself a favor and go watch that link. It’s pretty awesome and the song BTW is by a good friend of mine Brent Bramer – which you should check out his music cuz it is awesome…)
The funny thing to me in showing the video was the range of responses I got from those that saw it. On one side were the people who made it a political statement about Google. That Google was known for manipulating their OS to show favorable words for other groups like the gay community or Buddhists but negative words for Christians. Other reactions were more in anger. One person said that what bothered him was the fact that people lost from God were just hateful about us standing up for “what is right” and so they label us. Another said something along the lines of that is why they don’t use Google or YouTube but instead only use GodTube and some Christian web browser they had found.
Now of course I got lots of other responses – those were just the ones that stood out to me. My reaction was way different than those three. Mine was that I felt my heart break.
Those Google statements are coming from someone’s perception… that Christians are “angry, annoying and arrogant.” Human nature tends to boil things down to the simplest possible groupings. For example, if we get taken advantage of by a used car salesman – we tend to then group used car salesmen into a rather negative light. Of course the reality is that there are thousands and thousands and thousands of extremely honest, reputable, friendly, conscientious used car salesmen. It’s easy to understand then when someone has a terrible experience at a church or with a “Christian” and they produce a label in their mind that they begin to affix to all Christians.
The hard reality is that it doesn’t matter if those perceptions of us are fair or accurate. The reality is that they do exist. And as long as we have huge groups of us spending more time “defending our faith” than just loving others – those perceptions will not only exist – they will grow. And this is where things get sticky with the Christians that read my posts. Yes – I do know the scriptures that you will want to point me to – that instruct us to defend our faith (1 Peter 3:15, Jude 3-4, 2 Timothy 4, 1 Corinthians 16:13 just to name a few…) The funny thing is that of course I believe in those passages just like I do every scripture in the Bible! I think the only argument they and I have in this – is what does it mean to “defend?” Is a group like The Family Research Council defending our faith? The Southern Poverty Law Center has identified this organization as a hate group. There are links between the president of that organization and white supremacists groups. How in the world is this helping us defend our faith? Defending our faith? It’s making – showing our faith through our love way more difficult!
Take the idea out of the religious realm for a second. Let’s say that someone comes up to you and says – “I hear you say that you have air conditioning in your home. That is a downright lie! That is not true at all because air conditioning does not exist. It is a made up fantasy and I do not believe in it. Anyone that says they have air conditioning is an idiot.” So what’s your response. You could defend your air conditioner by arguing with the guy – pointing to historical evidence for the invention of air conditioning. You could show him the paperwork that proves your “Trane is Built To Last.” You could explain the mechanics of air conditioning and coolant and on and on and on. You could be the world’s utmost authority on air conditioning and speak in an intellectually yet easy to understand way. The reality is – he could still say… “Nahhh. I still don’t believe you…. Take all of your fancy schmancy talking and stow it!” But what if instead of all that – you said, “you don’t believe in a/c? OK. Wanna come over and have a beer? And my wife makes some awesome buffalo chicken dip. And we can watch the game tomorrow night?” What does he experience if he takes you up on your offer. Well first thing, he understands that you wanna hang out. Second thing, once he gets to your house – is he experiences what air conditioning is. He doesn’t have to be told about it. I bet he says after he gets there…”OMG! Why is your house so wonderfully and frigidly cool in this hot weather?!?!” “Oh that… ehh it’s just our air conditioning.”
Which way was a better defense of your air conditioning?
Yes. Defend our faith – but do it by letting people experience the fruits of it. Remember what it says in James 2:14-20… yeah – it’s that whole faith without works passage. But it’s even bigger – because James also says in that passage (in a smart alecky voice that I love so much form him and Paul at times…) “Oh – you believe in God? Congratulations!!! Even the demons believe in Him!!” It’s not about wearing our TRUTH on our rolled up sleeves ready for a fight… It’s about wearing that TRUTH on our servants towel and following Paul’s advice from 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 …
And for everyone that loves 1 Corinthians 16:13 so much – “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.” read another verse later in I Corinthians 16:14 where it says “Let all that you do be done in love.” Christians Are L(ove). Boom. Enough said.