Seems like every week there is a new controversy breaking out on the Interwebs between different camps of angry Christians. I generally don’t fall into the mindset that thinks all anger should be buried and ignored. At times, I think our anger about an issue tells us that we have witnessed a huge injustice. But there are times when I wonder if we are still missing the lessons of Jesus about how to deal with and express our anger.
Just a thought… if you get mad or upset at some Christian that falls into judgement or stereotyping, and you decide to write a blog post blasting that person…. you might want to think long and hard about how you are judging and stereotyping those that you are upset with. Don’t talk a high and mighty line about loving all and accepting all and giving people the benefit of the doubt and then turn around and put stereotypical words in someone else’s mouth and blast them for the hypothetical thoughts they might have had. I see this so much around the Christian blogosphere, especially among the “emerging church” crowd. Too many blog posts and articles have overall points that I agree with, but choose to inject their otherwise good point with stereotypes and judgment on those they are upset with. And they are usually upset with someone else that got into judgement and stereotyping. Odd, I know. And I know I have been guilty of that. I just wish we were all a bit more sensitive to the plank in our own eyes.
The most recent controversy seems to be over an blog post called “FYI (if you’re a teenage girl)“. You probably either love it or hate it. I find it extremely problematic. There have been many responses like “An ‘FYI’ to My Daughters“. I agree with the general idea of this response… but I cringe at the judgmental, stereotypical language used there. So how do you know that these parents will never find a perfect enough girl for their son? Sure, I have known a few parents like that… but most of them never said a word about the swimsuit bikini models plastered on their son’s bedroom walls. So there are at least a few people that don’t fit in that stereotype.
You see, the “horrendously hypocritical” and “disgustingly sexist” people out there are people, too. Jesus loves them, too. I have known more than a few people that would probably easily fit into those stereotypes. The surprising thing is that, once you get to know them, they are not as one-dimensional as our judgement and stereotypes makes them out to be. They might have been talking out of frustration and used words they regret later. They may think even worse things that they didn’t express. You never know either way.
But I think this is the main point Jesus was trying to get across when He told us to look at the plank in our own eye first. If I am upset at someone acting “horrendously hypocritical,” my first goal with my response would be to remove all hypocrisy from it. If I am upset at judgment and double standards, I need to first make sure I don’t respond with judgement and double standards. This is not to say I shouldn’t respond, but that I should only respond to what was said and not assume someone thinks something else just because of a particular statement they made.
Look, as human beings, we aren’t mind readers. But we are all poor communicators at one time or another – some of us more than others. The combination of the two really should scare the hell out of us and drive us to be more graceful in our responses. Or to at least respond to the issue and not drag the person into it and assume they are the poster child for their side of the debate.
Yes, I know I am horrible at this myself, so I will also try to commit myself all the more to dealing with my plank first. And looking more at the issue rather than the people that speak out about the issue. I am hopeful that those that read this will join me. Saying that we love and respect all has to extend to even those that we are most frustrated with or it means nothing at all.