I’m writing an “open letter” here, to you within a certain slice of the Christian population. Dear rule-keepers, sticklers, and those who freely point out the perceived faults in the rest of us, please stop.
Please stop spewing hatred and strife in the name of Jesus.
Whether you know it or not, you are doing more harm than good. Your legalistic attitudes and your judgmental behaviors, which you probably think are championing the Truth, are not serving God faithfully. The reality is, you’ve joined those who “bind loads you can’t carry and you close the doors to those who would enter the kingdom.”
My question to you is, when was the last time you changed your opinion on anything? If you haven’t, then you aren’t growing or maturing. If you have, then how do you deal with the fallout of your disagreements with those you challenged in the past, but now you see “it” differently?
Part of the damage you inflict is from your hateful/bombastic language and your use of vitriolic phrases, and too many people begin to think all believers have your attitude. Then they are driven even further from the Kingdom, becoming doubly lost and this chastising approach of your is the polar-opposite of the Great Commission. You are responsible for creating more atheists than Darwin.
You see, instead of attracting people to Jesus, your legalism repels everyone else, making it nearly impossible for the other Christians to reach the people you’ve wounded along the way. In case you didn’t know, judging people or shaming them embitters them -- it doesn’t endear them to you.
Secluding or cocooning ourselves from the world, and then hammering everyone else who disagrees with our theological perspectives, ruins any influence we could’ve had for the Kingdom. Not to mention, this is terrible PR for Jesus.
We don’t have a Biblical precedent to be mean-spirited or hateful. So, you set yourself apart from the world and judge it. You may even love to quote John 3:16, but you’ve obviously overlooked John 3:17, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” Enough with the condemnation.
Sadly, most everything which judgmental and legalistic Christians argue and debate over fall under “gray” areas. From meeting times to the color of the carpet to the name over the door, to consuming alcohol and politics, from women’s roles to which translation of Bible is authorized, to the “style” of worship. Ugh. Why isn’t Jesus enough for you?
I’ve seen this damage firsthand, having been on the receiving end of condemnation drummed up by Christian witch hunts, and I’ve watched as friends wither, and I’ve cringed as loved ones suffer from the hands of Bible-carrying hatemongers. I’ve seen the sincere and the seeker driven away, and it’s hard to swallow.
When you label others as liberal or you think your theology is superior to everyone else’s, you’ve not said anything about others, you’ve only revealed more about yourself. Your “stance” says more about yourself than it does others. The end results of your animosity towards everyone who disagrees with your narrow perspectives are simply devastating. People outside the faith avoid “church” and those within the fold are driven away by your actions. And as people trickle away from the church, they lump all Christians into the same camp: Hateful, judgmental ogres. This must end, quickly.
There’s no harm in holding different opinions on many doctrines, but how we articulate our differences and how we view/treat others makes all the difference in the world. Remember, Jesus said all men would know we were His disciples by our love for one another, He didn’t say people would know we were His by being correct about everything or by our doctrinal accurateness...
My guess is, if you prefer to judge or shame others, you probably suffer from some deep-seated insecurities. People hide behind self-righteousness because it quiets their fears that they haven’t quite measured up or they aren’t good enough.
Let me close this open letter with this thought: The very people who instigated the death of Jesus were religious to the core. They believed they were in the right, but they were dead wrong.