Why is it that it is rarely my Jewish, atheist, Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, Mormon, or non-evangelical christian friends who behave in an unchristian like manner towards me, but is rather the evangelicals? I know you have no answer, nor do I expect one, but an evangelical woman today was absolutely vicious to me. And I called her on it and told that her behavior was a reason why people think evangelicals are the biggest of all hypocrites, because they so often seem to fall so much further from Christ’s behavior than other people. She was horrified and stunned. I told her she wasn’t a real christian, and if she was, I wanted nothing to do with her or her version of God.
I know you have no answer, but I felt compelled to share this with you because it is a good example of why I am unwilling to consider any affiliation with most denominations. So much hate and anger and jealousy and pettiness. This is not God’s way at all. The American evangelical church seems lost in the wilderness to me. They would spit on the story of the good Samaritan if it was updated to the world of today.
The above was recently shared with me by someone I know personally. I think the critique is deserved my friends. I was a nurse for many years, and guess what patients I usually dreaded caring for? Yes, you guessed it. Evangelical Christians! They were typically very demanding and impatient…with their personal Bible on the bedside stand.
What’s up with that? What is wrong with us? (If you are new to my blog, please note that I am an evangelical Christian!) I’ve also heard waitresses complain about evangelical Christians – that they are also demanding customers and then leave a poor tip. How does the waitress know they are evangelical? Because they leave a gospel tract along with the stingy tip!
Perhaps some of this is jaded or cynical memories, as we are prone to remember bad experiences more than good experiences.
Below is what I shared in response to the person above:
Good for you for calling her on it! Horrified and stunned sounds “good”… maybe she will take your deserved rebuke to heart. Yeah, I don’t know. No one is perfect yet that is not an adequate explanation for this example you give of poor behavior.
Just thinking out loud…Sometimes I wonder if evangelicals are so focused on avoiding the “big sins” or “traditional Christian taboos” – like adultery, cursing, etc that they forget that things like gossip, rudeness, and envy are sins too. It might be better to occasionally curse, but be a kinder person! Thanks for giving me something to think about. And sorry.
They replied back to me with this:
Your theory makes sense. Big sins avoided, ignore the little ones. But it is the little sins that can cause others the most pain and set a bad example! I also wonder if those most in need of help and strength to avoid these behaviors are more drawn to the zealous, black-white thinking some evangelical groups espouse?
Now I edit the conversation a little, but here is my reply to the above:
I also wonder if those most in need of help and strength to avoid these behaviors are more drawn to the zealous, black-white thinking some evangelical groups espouse?” – I’m not completely sure the answer, but, I think this is getting closer to the mark and perhaps hits the nail on the head! We can be attracted to the very types of things that perpetuate our weakness.
On a theological issue, I think too many Christians “move on” from the cross of Jesus. They think the cross is just for when you accept Christ, then you move on from it. They think they have “arrived” and pride develops… But even after becoming a Christian, I think it is important to keep thinking of yourself as someone in need of God’s mercy who is prone to wander and mess up. This helps keep you humble and on the right track.
I had some final thoughts to share. A friend of mine attends Mark Dever’s Capitol Hill Baptist Church. I thought this quote they shared from a recent sermon applies to this discussion: “We can appear that we are obeying God when in fact we’re only doing things that we wanted to do anyway.”
In other words, we can be overly confident that we are good, obedient Christians because we do the things that we like, while we refuse to do the things we dislike. Or…We think we are good Christians because we don’t commit certain sins that are easy for us to not commit, but meanwhile we overlook all the other sinful behaviors in our life. We have deceived ourselves! Big time! The behaviors that are more difficult for us to change…these are precisely the ones that the Spirit wants to transform in us.
The source of motivation is critical as well. I think too many evangelical churches (whether directly or indirectly) still teach rule-based living, instead of grace-based and Spirit-based living. We give people rules to follow. We try to externally change their behavior…through rules, guilt, fear, etc. Rather…we should be teaching them to love God wholeheartedly and truly grasp how amazing the grace of God is! As we remember all that God has done for us through Christ, our love and gratitude will bring change from the inside out.
I am hoping for some feedback to this post.
I think that this person’s criticism is deserved. Do you think so?
And if you do, what are your thoughts? Why do evangelical Christians often exhibit such poor behavior? And what is the solution?
UPDATE, 5/11/2012: I came across a post where another blogger shares similar concerns. This blogger has worked in the food service industry. “Christians: The Worst Kind of Customer.”