When Bad Christians Happen to Good People

When I was on my way to church this morning to pick up Cole, after Tim had walked him to his run-through meeting, I heard an interview on the radio with Dave Burchett,  the author of When Bad Christians Happen to Good People. I turned the radio up when Dave was asked why he thought Christians judge so much. His answer, to me, seemed bang on. He said we seem to have a wrong view of righteousness. We think righteousness means not doing bad things like  smoking, going to movies, drinking, living with someone before marriage – add your bad thing here____. We think if we do the right things, that makes us righteous. Actually what we are judging is someone’s morality. Righteousness has nothing to do with what we do or don’t do, it is about what Christ did for us on the cross.  Christ makes us righteous, not good deeds. We have sins on a moral ladder and put some of them at the top such as sexual sin, stealing, lying. When it comes to gossip, not looking after the poor, not revealing everything about our taxes etc, we see them as mild shortcomings.

It’s so easy for us as Christians to judge other people, but that’s not our job. It’s God’s. We are called to love each other as God loves us.  In the acknowledgments Dave mentions his dog Charlie, how faithfully loyal and loving he is. Then he goes on to say, “If I loved people as much as Charlie does, we would have a perpetual revival in our neighborhood.

Sometimes we as Christians have trouble loving people. Instead we condemn them, judge them and look down on them in self righteousness. After hearing this on the radio this morning, I want to do better at the loving and do less of the judging. I already have a plan in place and have thought of this more than once before. When a judgmental or negative thought comes into my head about someone, I am going to do my best at turning that negative into a positive and purposely think of a good quality that person has. I won’t always be successful but I want to do my best.

One other point Dave made is that Christians often isolate themselves in safe bubbles, surrounding themselves only with other Christians. This is bad news because if we all do that, how are  non believers ever going to come to know Christ? Jesus hung out with sinners, with the people that needed him most. He didn’t hang out with “perfect” people. Dave says that it really makes him sad that we don’t make an effort to hang out with the secular crowd. I need to make more of an effort in this area. I like my alone time so it takes energy for me to be with anyone.

At any rate, this author gave me some things to think about and I’m interested in reading this book. If anybody has it and is willing to lend it out, put me on the list please.

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