I John 2:11, “But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.”
I don’t mind doing damage control with nonbelievers after other Christians have come through and done their worst. That is life.
But it is altogether too predictable. For every nonbeliever who either refutes the Word of God or is angry with a God who would be sovereign and God-like over His own creation, there is at least one Christian who ran roughshod over a human heart.
Folks, we are meaner than God.
I say that reverently. God is not mean. He is love. We Christians are, sometimes, just plain mean. To nonbelievers, to each other. Just plain mean.
Okay, our hearts hurt sometimes, too. But when we hurt, God has shown us the constructive thing to do–come to Him for comfort. He never gave us permission to live from a center of hurt and bitterness, to lash out against the entire human race.
When Christians become active politically, we can show our worst side, too.
American Christians can end up mixing up the American Dream with the gospel of grace and giving people a laundry list of self-help tips instead of a Saviour who is big enough to fulfill their every need.
An example is our attitude toward single mothers sometimes.
Let’s say a girl gets pregnant at 16, decides not to abort her baby, has to live through abandonment by the baby’s father, lives with her parents, is trying to go to college while working a minimum wage job, and then . . . shows up at our church.
If we happen to lead that girl to Christ, what then?
Any number of Christians will present a strong case against government aid for this young lady, even temporary government aid. And I understand their hesitancy to create a situation of dependency for this young lady and her child.
However, what is the alternative?
Those of us who are uber wedded to the American Dream would speak of the individual and his determination to make a better life for himself and his family. But they would end his obligation to the human race at his front door.
Okay, fine. No one is obligated to help this single mother and her child. But what does the law of love say? If we think the government should not assist her, are we willing to do it as individuals? To step outside of the framework of our own family and our own home and to give sacrificially so this young lady might finish college and make a better life for herself and her child?
Is that a risk? Sure it is. If we pay her tuition for her, she might become lazy and flunk out. That is a risk every college student runs.
Or she might get her degree, get a better job, and forsake the church. People forsake the church all of the time, almost always having received something from the church that was given with no price tag attached. Another risk we run.
Or this young lady might make good, become a strong church member (and tither), and raise her child in the ways of the Lord. She might later marry and raise several more children for Him.
All of life is a risk. Only God knows who will be a loyal church member and Christian in the end. But we miss a huge chunk of living when we stay risk averse . . .
And God help us if we not only refuse to help this young lady but try to excuse our refusal by engaging in pre-emptive meanness.
If I had a dollar for every time I heard someone say the equivalent of “she made her bed, now she can lie in it” . . .
She made a bad decision, even a sinful decision, at age sixteen so we think the appropriate penalty is for her to spend the rest of her life not able to move beyond the consequences of that decision?
Aren’t we glad God never uses that line on us!
He freely offers us grace. Yes, there are physical consequences to sin and some of them can be lifelong. But I think God can figure out how to use natural consequences to the best advantage without us trying to assist in that.
We don’t help Him reach the lost by holding out a stony coldness to them!
Sure, most of us are not independently wealthy. There might not be much we can afford to do.
But to throw the phrase “She made her bed, now let her lie in it” out there is unconscionable. If we can’t help financially, so be it.
But we must still hold out the gospel of grace and of love.
Then when someone comes along who can afford to help and wants to help, they won’t have to spend lots of time undoing the damage our meanness has done to a new believer . . .