I recently was reading through a post on a public Facebook forum to which I belong, and I found myself drawn to the comments. After years of social media use I should know to stay out of that pit, but I fell in unaware. And that was when I saw it. Out of the woodwork came a commenter ridiculing the poster, and all in the name of Jesus.
Indeed, the commenter took the time to not only share her personal opinion on the poster having a tattoo, but also decided to share that God is adamantly against tattoos. I guess because the two of them chat about it on a normal basis.
Listen, I won’t debate in this blog whether I agree with tattooing. I won’t quote scripture that speaks against it, just as I won’t use other verses to state why Christians shouldn’t judge someone for it. Personally, I’m a Christian and I have tattoos, one being an ichthus, but I also got them in a time of my life that is far different from who I am now. If faced with the decision at this time I likely wouldn’t get them again, but that doesn’t mean I think you can’t have them either. I honestly don’t know. I’ll ask God about it when I sit at His feet in person.
But this post isn’t about tattoos. I repeat, this post isn’t about tattoos.
This post is about how Christians represent themselves to others and how they approach stating their opinion.
When this woman decided to comment publicly to a stranger that his choice to get a tattoo was wrong because God didn’t want him to do so, she succeeded, but not in the way she intended. She succeeded not in changing his mind about tattoos, but in causing a division between herself and another child of God.
I have no idea whether this guy was a believer in Christ or not, but I do know that if he wasn’t, he sure wouldn’t be drawn to Jesus by this lady’s approach.
First, I do believe that as Christians God gives us wisdom and guidelines with which to discern right from wrong. He gives us His Word as a map of sorts by which we can live our lives pleasing to Him. When His people fall outside His Word we are called as followers of Christ to help bring them back to God’s instruction for their life, and in that sense we are given the authority to righteously judge.
So we are instructed to abide by God’s Word and to help our brother not to stumble, but we are also called not to cast a stone unless we are without sin. We are instructed not to “judge” incorrectly.
If you base someone’s self-worth on their actions or appearance, you are wrong. Everyone has worth because of Jesus. They just might not be walking in their inheritance.
Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly.
What happens when we judge incorrectly is that we push people farther from God. Instead of embracing them with love and acceptance like Jesus would do, then instructing them in brotherly kindness according to the Father’s will, we jump straight to telling folks how they’re wrong. When you do this, people just shut down. They don’t hear “God is love;” they just hear “I’m not worthy of God’s love.”
We battle in this world against principalities of darkness, and when we ridicule others for their mistakes in our eyes, Satan takes that opportunity to make the individual feel condemnation rather than God’s conviction.
And this is why people hate Christians. If you do this, then you are part of the problem. You’re why people hate Christians.
You cannot instruct a stranger on what they’re doing wrong. It just won’t work. A relationship must be present to help make instruction possible and fruitful. Do you really think you’ll bring Salvation through a Facebook rant? I guess it’s possible, but not likely.
You cannot point out personal wrongdoing in a public manner. It’s not fair, and it will never be received well. Pride and hurt feelings will interfere with hearing truth every time.
You cannot make a judgement call on someone’s personal decisions unless you are without sin yourself, and unless you are correcting them with the right intent. What I mean by this is if you’re piously pointing out a problem without the purpose of bringing someone closer in their personal relationship with Jesus then your motivations are wrong, and you have sinned.
This is such a difficult subject and a very slippery slope. We are called to judge our brothers and sisters, but only with the intent and purpose of helping them achieve a better walk with Christ or eternity with Him. If we’re not covering our intentions with selfless love then they will most likely fall on deaf ears, and the only outcome achieved will be to push people away from the hem of His garment. Plus they’ll hate us for it.
faith adego says
Very true and inspiring indeed!