"Don't Be a Hater"
I was driving in to work a few days ago and listening to my favorite sports radio station here in Chicago. They were talking about an increasingly scary issue for professional athletes: crazed fans.
The two hosts were interviewing the stations "baseball insider" the guy who knows all the athletes and has visited all the clubhouses. He said that professional athletes, especially those who are having a bad year or who are just not well liked in their towns, face a torrent of hate mail, racist comments, and often death threats.
Now most fans are pretty good people. They would never utter a racist comment or send death threats. But there is an increasingly big portion of our society that is using new platforms to unload the worst kind of hatred. And its not just limited to professional sports.
Politics has gotten downright nasty and both sides have some true-blue believers who take their opinions so seriously that they begin to tear down others with whom they disagree in vile ways. All you have to do is read an online news article about anything remotely related to politics, scroll to the bottom where they allow comments, and you'll be treated to a buffet of the ugliest, most hate-fill speech in the world. Every time I see this I think to myself, Someone, somewhere is at a keyboard and is typing this stuff and it doesn't bother them.
What saddens me most is when Christians get into the act. Ideally, sinners, who have been broken enough to realize their own depravity and need for a Savior, somehow quickly forget their condition and find it okay to tear down other Christians. Now there are often legitimate disagreements among believers. That's understandable when you're dealing with the fallen. There are also times where believers have to stand against other believers over the truth. Jesus, Paul, Peter, John, and the prophets had to do this often.
But what I'm talking about is absolute character assassination. You expect this from the world. You don't expect it from believers. I'm afraid our new, 21st century platforms have given us way too much opportunity to unleash our worst and rashest thoughts.
There are whole blogs dedicated to "exposing" issues in churches. There are whole websites dedicated to tracking and watching the behavior of certain prominent Christians. And sadly, there are Christians who post vile comments on websites. I've even been the victim of some myself.
I don't these people represent the majority of Christians, just like I don't think most baseball fans are haters and most politically active people are snarky. But the few who are loud enough to make this a more depressing world.
So my advice today is this. Don't be a hater. Christians should be different. We're called to be light in this world. We're called kindness and love and grace.
Daniel Darling is an author and pastor with a passion for young people. He is the author of Teen People of the Bible, a 100-day devotional for teens. Visit him on Facebook by clicking here, or at danieldarling.com.