Too many times I’ve witnessed how Christians—that is, people who blatantly profess that Christ is their Lord and Savior—treat their non-Christian acquaintances or friends so remarkably well (perhaps to just get them to go to church, or perhaps you just like them more), but then turn right around and treat their fellow Christian brother/sister like total bunk. I’ve seen this happen time and time over, in people of all ministry statuses, and it makes me sick to my stomach. Christ did not call us to be hypocritical in the way we treat others. You aren’t representing Him well at all if you treat strangers nicely while you treat your real family—your church—like they don’t truly matter. That includes:
1. Talking smack about them behind their back – In the Christian culture, this is oftentimes expressed as a well-meant concern. Use your best judgment and avoid/gently rebuke those who tend to speak ill of others. Don’t be fooled. Chances are if they talk about the people around you so often, they’re probably talking about you, too. If you’re being true to yourself and you know that it is you who struggle with gossip, please understand that there are healthier and Godlier ways to express your concerns. Some of which includes: prayer and petition, seeking advice from an older and more mature counselor, or just confronting the issue with the particular brother or sister. I know that for many of us, our way of getting rid of our anxieties is to vent, but talking about people behind their backs won’t solve anything and instead will make you seem like an immature jerk. One of the things that God hates the most is to witness his children slandering one another, so just get rid of this habit altogether. The church would be a much more loving and safe environment if only the church family would stop badmouthing each other. I know you’ll agree with me on this principle. It is common decency.
Proverbs 20:19 - Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets; therefore do not associate with a simple babbler.
- Proverbs 17:4 - Wrongdoers eagerly listen to gossip; liars pay close attention to slander.
2. Taking your church peers for granted – Really, though. After you’ve finished criticizing your fellow leader or brother/sister for something silly they’ve done, did you even bother asking them about their day? When was the last time you’ve genuinely expressed to them that you care about them? When was the last time you went the extra mile for them the same way you went the extra mile for that guy/girl you tried to bring to church? At the end of the day, the brother/sister whom you’re carelessly ignoring is going to be hurt by your unabashed disinterestedness. I sometimes do this thing where I forget that other Christians also need just as much care and attention as my “secular” friends, so I end up taking them for granted and criticize their every action instead of appreciating them for their willingness to serve. Let’s not treat our acquaintances like kings and our family like crap. Go the extra mile for your brothers and sisters. God will honor that.
- John 13:35 – “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples."
- Romans 12:10 – “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.”
If we, as Christians, actually treated one another like how Christ treats us, the church would surely bring heaven to Earth. It would be a place where I would actually feel safe in, accepted, and loved. Imagine that. Now let’s be kind to one another and put away that dumb, hurtful joke or that next gossip/concern we were going to voice. It just isn't worth it.