Raising Politically Incorrect Christians - Part 2
- 2007 16 Mar
"But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear." -1 Peter 3:15
As we discussed in part one of this series, our Christian children are going to face opposition to their faith, both in college and in their career. How should our Christian teens respond when their faith is questioned, when their beliefs are mocked, when their rights are trampled upon? Sometimes it is easier to look at a question in reverse, so let's start with how Christians should not respond. Here are a few items that occurred in the past year that will help illustrate.
Rosie O'Donnell told The View audience, "Radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam." This comment was illogical and inflammatory, and I am certain Miss O'Donnell does not really believe that a large, organized group of Christians exists who are blowing up innocent people. Miss O'Donnell lives a lifestyle in opposition to some of the Judeo-Christian values of the Bible, and certain laws she would be in favor of would not pass if Christians had their way. So it seems what she really meant to say was that Activist Christians would be a threat to the laws she would like to see passed. A very different comment than the one she made, and it doesn't pack the same punch.
Many Christians were highly insulted and either asked for or demanded an immediate apology. Some called for her resignation. I asked a different question that I would like you to consider: What would bring Miss O'Donnell to say something like this that was obviously not true?
I believe what fuels the fire for accusations such as hers are those who call themselves Christians but who do not behave in a very Christ-like manner. Each time someone calling himself a Christian speaks out in anger, it only serves to inflame. Unfortunately, the mainstream news media is only too willing to run their stories because they make Christians look like intolerant wackos.
This brings us to another story. A Christian guest on the Hannity and Colmes show stirred up some controversy after the Amish school shooting last fall when she expressed the opinion that the five little Amish girls killed at that school had so angered the Lord with their sins that He had them murdered. Apparently, no other sinners walking the earth that day deserved God's wrath. Two other things kept running through my mind as she spoke. 1) If she really believed that the Amish and our country are on the wrong path, wouldn't it have been more persuasive and Christ-like to share those opinions in love and with respect? 2) As it stands now, the only thing she succeeded in communicating is that she is a Radical Christian Wacko. You know, like the kind Miss O'Donnell warned you about!
"A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle." –Proverbs 18:19
Another incident of a Christian responding inappropriately occurred not too long ago when a secular band released a new CD that was explicitly anti-Christian in its content. It shouldn't surprise us when these types of groups use Satanic hype in order to rally fans and sell CDs. It has been going on for decades in the music industry. These are usually lost souls, ignorant of the truth. They are caught up in things that, for the most part, they do not fully understand. As Christ said, "They know not what they do."
I came across a website on which people were discussing the new CD. Most of the comments were, as you might expect, primarily the rantings of young teens cheering the band on using foul language and very little intellect. Most entries made fun of Christians or denounced any responsibility in life. Some comments were from kids who just did not want to answer to anyone. Life was one big funfest to them and Christians were raining on their parade! However, one comment in particular caught my eye. It was posted by a woman claiming to be a Christian. I was deeply disappointed and saddened to find that her comment was harsh and hateful as she told the band to, "burn in hell." Here was a Christian's chance to speak up and defend the faith or plant a seed for Christ, but she failed to do either. As we might expect, the responses to her comment were even angrier and more focused than the original comments. When you respond in anger, it only turns the level of anger up a notch. What it almost never does is raise the level of persuasion!
Does the Lord really want the members of this band to burn in hell? No, He wants them to come to Him! But would you come to someone whose followers told you to "burn in hell"?
"Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man." -Colossians 4:6
These are extreme examples and situations in which most Christians may never find themselves. However, there are many other ways to respond that are also less than Christ-like. Have you ever replied to an e-mail or an online comment out of anger or disrespect? Has your son or daughter ever been upset by something someone said and spoken out in a harsh tone? Each and everything we say and do communicates something to those around us. If we call ourselves Christians, we must be careful to speak in love and with grace and respect. Anger only begets anger. Comments that bring anger may elicit the thought, "If that's a Christian, I sure don't want to be one!"
The fact that we are right about something doesn't give us the right to hit someone over the head with it. It also doesn't make it an effective way to persuade someone of something. If we respond in anger or with disrespect, we are only doing what I call screaming in a deaf man's ear Screaming does not help a deaf man understand you better. It only serves to make him certain that he does not want to!
As Christians, we should also not respond to others with an attitude of judgment, condemnation, scorn or arrogance. These also cause others to turn a deaf ear. Nobody wants to be told he is an awful person or that he is wrong. No one enjoys having his beliefs attacked. Most people who are treated this way will not be receptive. What might happen is that they will be far less inclined to listen to anything else about Jesus. This does not mean that we have to be "tolerant" of everything that people do. However, we would be wise to remember the old saying, "Hate the sin, love the sinner." We can speak the truth, but we should do it with a spirit of love and grace.
Instead of getting angry and defensive when someone makes a rude comment, we should train our children to "bless those who curse us." Instead of firing off a rude or mean-spirited response, they should share, in a spirit of love, what they know about Jesus. We need to teach our children to be Christ-like in their reply even when they are attacked or mocked for their beliefs.
The Bible tells us to share the Good News of Jesus Christ. While silence is not an answer, the Lord asks us to love our neighbor and turn the other cheek. He tells us to respond with gentleness and respect. The reason He tells us to respond in this manner is that God knows the hearts of men He knows that when we respond with anger, condemnation, disrespect, judgment, sarcasm, hurt or arrogance, we will not be effective witnesses for Him.
"He that loveth pureness of heart, for the grace of his lips the king shall be his friend." –Proverbs 22:11
The Lord doesn't want any of His children to perish, but wants all to come to Him and be saved. That is the message we need to share with non-Christians. When the Lord deems it time, He will come to judge. But right now there is still time to share God's love, grace and mercy with the lost. Condemnation will not turn a soul's ear toward Christ; it will only lead it further away. Those who continue to speak up for their beliefs by telling others to "burn in hell" or by becoming angry or judgmental are actually enabling Satan to lead others away from the saving grace of Christ Jesus.
So before your daughter rattles off a response to Aunt Jenny, before your son types that e-mail response, teach them to take a look at the tone of their communication. Is it respectful? Does it share God's love? Is it something that is going to make the other person listen with an open heart or is it merely designed to make your child feel better after his or her beliefs have been attacked?
By sharing our beliefs in a spirit of love, we can have a far more positive impact on those around us than if we react with hostility, anger or scorn. Let's work now to raise up a generation that will speak out boldly for the cause of Christ, sharing the light of His love in the darkness of the world.
JoJo Tabares holds a degree in Speech Communication. Her Christian and humorous approach to communication skills has made her a sought after speaker. She is the author of the Say What You Mean communication curriculum, and has had articles published in various homeschool magazines and websites. JoJo and her husband live in Southern California where she homeschools their two children. For more information, please visit www.ArtofEloquence.com
This article was originally published in the Jan/Feb '07 issue of Home School Enrichment Magazine. For more information, visit http://HomeSchoolEnrichment.com