I don’t know what it is about the internet, but it tends to bring out the worst in people. Yesterday, I was checking out a Facebook group for young ministers, and I came across a post about unreached people groups. I LOVE reading and talking about unreached people groups—those groups that not only aren’t Christians, but who don’t have an adequate witness to Jesus within their group. I could go on and on about it, but this post isn’t about that. It’s about what happened as I read the comments.
When I went to read all the comments, I didn’t find lots of insightful, loving ideas about reaching the unreached.
Instead, I found bickering and passive aggression.
It made me so angry. As Christians, we’re supposed to be loving and kind. Ministers especially are called to a higher standard as examples, and these guys were being JERKS! How dare they!
And it was around this point, between picking up my stones and calling down fire and brimstone, that I realized I was doing the same thing they were. Perhaps not on the internet, but in my head. That sudden awareness deflated me. Those qualities that I was judging them for were the same ones that I dislike in myself. I hate that I’m passive aggressive and sarcastic, and God’s been convicting me of it recently.
Maybe you’ve encountered the same thing in your own life. God’s convicting you of your greed, and so you get upset every time you see someone who seems overly indulgent… according to your standards, of course. You struggle with lust and you become angry at the girls who wear revealing clothing or the guys rubbernecking at them.
Whether we realize it or not, we’re upset at them because their actions reveal the worst in ourselves.
Paul tells us in 1 Timothy 1:15 that he’s the worst of sinners. When we hear this, we’re prone to equivocate: “Well, that’s nice, but surely he doesn’t mean that he’s worse than Hitler” or, less extremely, “Sure, but I know plenty of people that Paul would certainly agree are worse.” But, no, Paul really meant it. We should have the attitude that we are indeed the worst of sinners.
However, this shouldn’t function to make us think of ourselves as worthless worms, but rather to humble us in the face of others’ sin.
What I was doing to those guys on the online forum was holding court over their worth. I was the judge and jury, decreeing that they were worth less because I had deemed them of lower value. But Jesus is the one who ascribes to us our value—and He demonstrated exactly how much we were worth on the cross.
So how about you: What are some ways you’ve seen this in your own life? Who are some individuals or groups that you’ve decreed are worth less than Jesus says they are?
*Title unapologetically stolen from a Greg Boyd sermon