Most of us that have been in the Church for a long time have heard the hymn, “They Will Know We Are Christians”. I have always hated this song, not because it has a bad tune, or bad lyrics, but because I never thought we lived up to the truth of this song. Some of you may disagree, others may think I am to harsh on us, but here is a specific example:
Last week I started playing pick-up Basketball at Maple Valley Presbyterian Church. The group of guys that where there ranged from their 20’s to 50’s or 60’s. The games were fun, competitive, and people were forgiving of mistakes. Well the second week (being last night) I returned excited to play with these guys again. When I arrived I was introduced to a few new guys, that weren’t there the week before, including Will. I was excited to meet another younger pastor from another church! We quickly got to playing and more than 15 guys showed up, including one of my friends from Simpson Andy McAllister (who had played with me the week before). The night started at a similar pace until about the 3rd game. Within the first few minutes Will starts yelling at Andy, “I heard about you, you’re the guy who was taking cheap shots last week,” I’m think what is he talking about? “This is my show, and we don’t play that kind of game here, if you do then get out of here.” I was confused to say the least, but didn’t think much else of it. The play after Andy is moving down the center of the key and Will (no joke) hits him like a Line-backer taking out a scrambling QB. Now I was totally at a loss, for two reasons. 1. I distinctly remember Will saying, ” . . . you’re the guy who was taking cheap shots . . . we don’t play that game here, if you do get out of here.” Well in my opinion that was a cheap shot, and he should have left . . . needless to say Andy was surprised and upset and a yelling match in-sued for the next few seconds. The second thing that struck me was this, Will doesn’t know Andy from Adam. For all Will knew Andy was some guy who heard about a game of ball and showed up, never having been into a church or actually met a pastor, and his first experience with one is one that acts in a hypocritical and unloving way. I almost left right then, but I rode with someone, so couldn’t.
I don’t write this to bash MVPC or Will, I actually believe that ministries such as the Basketball ministry are some of the best, they reach out to those who would never step into a church. I understand that we are all human and we all make mistakes, I understand that pastors are under the microscope, or placed in the fish bowl and criticized for the stupidest things sometimes, but “They Will Know We Are Christians” was not being acted out last night. Andy is a Christian and I don’t think there was any negative impact for the kingdom (except maybe a small personal grudge, which I suppose is negative). The scriptures tell us that we are to show Christ to those that don’t know him, but we should also show Christ to each other. Which means we should be loving and forgiving.
So my challenge is this: find a place in your life where you are unloving and hypocritical, and cut it out. It is a spiritual cancer in your body, so take the scalpel and cut that part out of yourself and try to be a better Pursuer of Christ-likeness today than you were yesterday.
How do hypocritical Christians make you React?