If you are not a Christian, that’s easy. Do whatever you want.
Throw stuff at them. Tell them to shut up. Give them a cup filled with cool water and say, “I think that Jesus said you were supposed to give this to me.” The guy wanting to burn the Koran? Feel free to remind him that Jesus said to love your enemies, and then He proceeded to pray for the people who were killing him. Or change the station. The gal who tips with a tract instead of money? Run after her and say, “I think you forgot to read the part of this that talks about loving.”
If you are a Christian, this is easy too. Love them.
The person who is boycotting the funerals of veterans? Yes. The guy wanting to burn the Koran? Yep, him too. The person who likes a different kind of music for church services, the person who loves tattoos/hates tattoos, the person who wears long skirts or short skirts or suits or jeans or lots of makeup or no makeup? Love him or her or them.
But that’s impossible, isn’t it?
Absolutely. And not only is it impossible, it makes no sense. I mean, if I love someone, it will look like I’m condoning what they are doing. And the last thing that I want to do is condone what “that person” is doing.
But here’s the deal. Jesus says “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” If I want to obey what he commands, and I do, I have to love the people who say that they are following Jesus.
Of course, his love for me doesn’t mean he condones everything I do. He looks for the hole in my heart and offers healing.
UPDATE: For more on what to do, see “So I have to love him?” – Part one.
17 thoughts on “How to deal with obnoxious Christians”
Thanks, Jon. This is a great reminder. I’ve been quick to condemn the Florida pastor and his church, and the media wonks who are giving them so much publicity. Forgot all about loving the whole lot of them. You are a good agitator!
Thanks Richard. And tomorrow I’ll talk about what that actually might look like. And just so you know, I’m looking in the mirror.
Excellent! It really is this simple. And that impossible.
and impossible is right.
Thanks for the dose of sanity. These days, it’s about as refreshing as that cup of water we’re supposed to be offering.
thank you Kat
Thanks Jon. Just found out today that the bunch from Kansas is planning to picket our church the end of this month soooo looks like I have time to work up to practical applications. Timely post.
I suppose there is a log/speck thing at work here too. I am trusting God for wisdom and grace to see these folks with His eyes.
Grace and Peace.
in fact, I think there is a log/speck thing, very much. Unfortunately.
Amen. We should love our Christian brothers and sisters. We should also love our “enemies” into the kingdom. You don’t show the love of Christ to future brothers and sisters (Muslims) by burning something sacred to them. Meekness is power under control. We could all use a double dose of that. But burning a bunch of Korans will only serve to drive a wedge between Muslims and “Christians”. This only serves to divide, not to unite. Burning books is cowardly. Loving when it is hard (and controversial) is courageous. I want to choose love over hate; courage over cowardice. CBB
you do, friend, choose that way regularly.
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Great post – so insightful is Jesus saying “Love them AS I HAVE LOVED YOU.” How does Jesus love me? That’s the key. But it is hard. I’m so grateful for God’s love though. Lately He has been reminding me to show others the same measure of grace He shows me.
thanks John. You highlighted the huge challenge very clearly.
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A very good article, but I had to get past the first line.
“If you are not a Christian, that’s easy. Do whatever you want.”
That sort of prejudice against the possibility that there could be morality without Jesus is what leads to Koran burning, etc.
Actually, Jamie, it is not so much prejudice as it is poor writing. That line was intended as a response to the title. As is often the case, those who are part of a group have difference constraints on responding to people in the group than do people outside the group.
However, what you identified is exactly what I saw when I reread the post a couple days after writing it. Without the title, there is no context.
Not what I was intending. I’m sorry.
How about reinforce their beliefs, you know, you shall eat the flesh of your sons and daughters in Leviticus.
Christians are in a self-denial bubble..where lying and self-deceit are believed almost instantaneously. So, you say one thing, all they have to do to counter your challenge is lie to their fellow Christians and to themselves and boom…they just inflated their self-denial/delusion bubble.
For example…what about the parts of the Bible that say eat your children, stone to death, don’t wear clothes with two or more fabrics?
Oh wait…that’s inconvenient for Christians…so they made up a lie where they instantly believe it. That’s it! Nothing will burst their self-denial. They would be willing to take a bullet to the brain rather than accept reality, which in most cases, it should happen.
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