Lately I’ve been noticing how easy it is for people to be negative and critical about others behind the safety of a keyboard (aka “the internet”). It’s a whole lot easier to say bad things about people you have never met, people who are only an image on a screen. Things are a lot different when you are face-to-face with them.
A few years ago, Jimmy Fallon and All-Star baseball player Robinson Cano set up a humorous prank that illustrates this reality. Please take four minutes to watch this…
What’s really sad is that there are a lot of Christians who are guilty of negatively judging others who they have never met. And far too often they don’t even have enough evidence before going public with their judgments, via blogs, Facebook, twitter, and other social media outlets.
For example, I recently came across a so-called “discernment ministry” website which had a long list of “false teachers.” While perhaps some of them are indeed false teachers, there were some pastors and evangelists listed that I would need to see some credible evidence to back up the charge. So I utilized the search feature on their website and found that these “discernment” bloggers provided no evidence to back up their charges against some of these men.
While falling short of the legal definition of slander, this kind of thing is definitely malice, and is sinful behavior.
So, here’s a challenge to all of us. Before we say something unkind to someone or about someone, let’s make sure we aren’t hiding behind the keyboard. First off, let’s make sure we have plenty of credible evidence to back up our charge. Second, let’s only speak of them as if we were standing there in front of them and the people who love them.
Back in 2008 I penned a blog post that has been, by far, the most popular one I’ve ever written (approaching 200,000 views). That blog post, “Should a Christian Drink Alcohol?, presents 21 reasons why I think it is wise to refrain from drinking alcohol.
A couple of years later I added, somewhat humorously, a 22nd reason.
Today I add a 23rd: You should avoid drinking alcohol in order to avoid increased mosquito attraction. Yes, you read that correctly. Mosquitoes are more likely to be attracted to you after you have consumed alcohol.
A team of researchers in Japan warn that “persons drinking alcohol should be careful about their increased risk to mosquito bites and therefore exposure to mosquito-borne diseases.”
So there’s that, too.
Because I work to make my videos as brief as possible, I usually leave several minutes on the proverbial cutting room floor. But because I also have this blog, I occasionally would like to expand a little bit more on the topic at hand.
This video is about apostasy, which is when a person abandons their faith. They no longer follow Christ. I didn’t get a chance in the video to explain that I do not believe that those who apostatize actually cease being Christians. I believe that there are two types of people who apostatize: (1) those we are truly Christians, and will eventually return to Christ and (2) those who never return to Christ, thereby revealing that they were never really Christians to begin with, as described in 1 John 2, verse 19…
They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us.
Why do people fall away from the faith?
A few reasons…
- Jesus does not measure up to their expectations.
- They find following Jesus too difficult.
- They fall into sin and then don’t want to have to deal with the guilt that comes with it.
- Peer pressure. Most of their friends and family, not to mention the culture at large, mocks Christianity.
The fourth reason is really what I addressed in this video. I believe we will see increasing numbers of “Christians” walk way from their faith because of the dwindling popularity of Christianity in North America.
On the positive side, God is purifying His church. The church will become leaner, but it will also become holier and more powerful in its witness and in displaying the love of Christ in all its purity and beauty.