First and foremost, I confess and seek to convict then correct my own actions. I am NOT calling YOU out. I am calling US out! If any of this rings true in you, I invite you to join me in confessing to the world.... We, as Christians, have a real image problem.
Sometimes, we Christians can be kinda scary.
I don't think anyone who follows Jesus ever intends to scare the very people we attempt to reach. We mean well, but by our words and lame attempts to speak for God, we can actually scare people away.... far away... from the most amazing love relationship of all times with Jesus.
Christians are scary when we convict others as sinful or make it our business to take political stands to make sure others are set straight or penalized. Christians are even scarier when tempted to share their opinions on others' actions, life choices and decisions on Facebook or Twitter. It's blatantly self-righteous, downright offensive and invites God to come after us.
Jesus was VERY specific about the punishment for judging others.
Matthew 7:1-2 “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged."
I need to be reminded. Jesus tells us to judge ourselves, only.
Matthew 7:3-4 “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye?
Instead of remaining open to listen, fully understand and love those we've offended, we throw up self-protective barriers. We may think we are "standing up for God's word" or "sharing the truth...in love", but in reality we end up using God's word as a shield of defense or a weighty cub to hit others over the head with. We rarely apologize and reach out to the offended. Instead we dismiss, disrespect and, as a result, alienate just about everyone - at least everyone who otherwise might love to hear about our loving Lord Jesus.
I am most ashamed of my own bouts with self-righteous and judgmental behavior and grieve the damage my scary self caused. I don't want to be perceived as a scary Christian, but I've been guilty....more than once. Of that I am sure.
So, I'm challenging myself to focus on extracting the big old plank in my own eye. I may need to unfriend or hide friends who continue to use Facebook and Twitter as a bully club of judgement instead of a vehicle for love and understanding. I'm not doing it as a protest but as a commitment to remove myself from the temptation to comment. (I still find it difficult to keep my big judgmental mouth shut.)
I'm praying I can learn to throw all that wasted energy into deepening honest and open face-to-face relationships with those around me. I want to learn to listen and understand praying God will open the door for me to share my heart.