Obnoxious Christians

Every year a man with a sign that says God Hates Fags stands on a street corner on the campus of the University of South Carolina during Welcome Week. He screams damnation and hell fire and flings God’s Word around carelessly and angrily. His presence makes it difficult for campus ministries to reach out to incoming students, because many assume the man is associated with them. Christian students are hesitant to identify themselves as believers, because they are afraid they’ll be lumped into the same category as this man. 

And although I can’t say for sure, I don’t think his preaching is very effective. I never saw a homosexual college student asking him for information on how to be saved. They’re usually hurrying to get as far away from him as possible. 

Then there’s Mitch at work. He’s a Christian, and EVERYONE knows it. Not because Mitch is kind to elderly customers, helpful to his coworkers, and always punctual. Everyone knows Mitch is a Christian because he attaches a Bible verse to every comment he makes, usually when he’s gossiping about his colleagues. “Did you hear John got a promotion? I hope it doesn’t go to his head. You know what the Good Book says about pride going before a fall. . .” or “Have you seen Sandy’s nose ring? It reminds me of that Bible verse about a jeweled ring in a pig’s snout.” 

And then there’s Joan, whom nobody likes. She’ll tell you she’s excluded from impromptu staff lunches because she’s a Christian, but that’s not true. Her coworkers leave her out because she’s loud, rude, and self-absorbed. 

Each of these Christians take comfort in Luke 6:22: “Blessed are you when men hate you, and when they exclude you, and revile you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of Man’s sake. . . for your reward is great in heaven.” Unfortunately, I don’t think this blessing applies to them. 

Christ used this Scripture to comfort those who were and would be persecuted for their faith—those who were testifying of Christ, speaking the truth of God’s Word in LOVE (see Eph. 4:15), and living by biblical principles. The reward Christ promises is for those who are modeling Christ like behavior, not for those who are justifying their sin by slapping a Christian label on it. 

Some believers are persecuted, but not because they're godly. They’re persecuted because they're self-righteous, sinful, and obnoxious. Naming the name of Christ doesn’t automatically make their persecution Christian persecution. They are being persecuted for their own sinfulness. 

If you’re struggling with relationships, don’t automatically assume it’s because you’re a Christian. Ask yourself, as objectively as you can, if it might be because you’re not exhibiting the Christ like behavior that should make people want to be around you. 

Christian persecution exists. I know of godly men and women who have lost their jobs, friends, families, and even their lives because of their faith. I’m glad Christ promises a rich reward for those who make such great sacrifice. The rest of us, however, would be wise to examine our lives. 

When we encounter persecution, is it because of our Christian faith or because of our non-Christian behavior?

Upcoming Event:
Praying with Power Women's Conference May 9, 2015
Hosted by Good Shepherd UM Parish in Brookville, PA

Session 1: Why Pray?
If God's going to do what God's going to do, why bother praying? Does it really work? The answer is YES, and this session will show you why.
Session 2: How to Pray
If you find yourself bored, distracted, or repetitive when you pray, you'll love creating your own personalized prayer journal.
Session 3: What to Pray
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