Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Critical Christian

When I venture outside my circle of friends and acquaintances I am often surprised at the negative attitude toward Christians. I have been thinking about this for quite a while and I think that we often don't live our lives in a way that reflects our faith.

So many of us live outwardly Christian lives only on Sunday and live fully engulfed in the ways of the world the remainder of the week. What a horrible witness this is to those around us. We aren't asked to be perfect, but we can't live our lives as hypocrites and expect people to come to know Jesus as their savior through our living example. We are his public relations team. I don't want to be the one to give the boss a bad reputation. He died for me, the least I could do is behave in a manner that is not embarrassing to the faith.

For example, I had have had a couple encounters with a woman who is a pastor's wife. I will admit I do not know her well, but I have found her to be snippy, bossy and critical of everything around her. I have never seen her inside the walls of her husband's church, but the person who lives outside those walls is not in any way, shape or form setting a Christian example of loving kindness. I have seen people try to join groups or committees within churches and other organizations that have new ideas get crushed because the person in charge won't let his or her ego step aside for a moment to listen. We are suppose to give up ourselves and live for Christ. We are suppose to put others needs before our own and love one another above all else. Why is this such a difficult thing to do?

It is difficult because we are sinful human beings by nature. We live in a world full of messages to look out for number one, to put yourself first and to step on everyone who gets in your way. I have a critical nature, I do, I will admit that an unkind thought will often be the first thing to come to the surface of my mind. I have to constantly monitor this in myself. My mother (I love you, Mom) has a critical nature as well so I come by it honestly. As I have grown in my faith, I have tried to keep my snippy little thoughts to myself because I don't want to raise a third generation of critical women. This has gotten much easier for me the more I have put it into practice, but I have to remain mindful of it. It does not surprise me how many Proverbs there are about controlling your tongue. We can inflict so much damage with our words. It is far better to remain silent.

As we move from our month of being thankful to a month of that is typically spent being busy, be mindful of how your words and actions reflect your faith. Be ever mindful of your status as a child of God and represent His love to others in word and in deed.

In His Peace  -

A man who lacks judgment derides his neighbor, but a man of understanding holds his tongue.
(Proverbs 11:12)
He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity.
(Proverbs 21:23)

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