Home > Random thoughts > Rant: Christians are not supposed to be “chill”

Rant: Christians are not supposed to be “chill”

September 22, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

Disclaimer: Much of what I say here is just as much directed toward myself as others. I’m taking off my logical hat for this post. 

The more I read the Bible, the more I worry (full disclosure…I also get annoyed) about the pervasive chillness of Christians everywhere, including myself at times. When I read Leviticus, yes, some of it causes me to scratch my head and wonder about things. But then I remember that with great honor from God comes great responsibility to uphold His statutes. God the Father literally would come down and dwell among this group of Jewish people, and in order to spare them from His holy wrath, He had to tell them a multitude of ways to cleanse themselves. Pure holiness and even moderate uncleanliness do not mix; it’s not a matter of volition or personal choice for God to punish sin, He must.

Then there is Jesus Christ who came to earth to suffer like we suffer (and far more), as well as to be tempted. He is able to be merciful, especially in light of his ultimate sacrifice on the cross where he bore the full wrath of God for all of us. This is a level of love we can never completely fathom.

But what we always seem to forget is this: JESUS (and God) IS NOT A TEDDY BEAR. God is not your teddy bear. He is not there to make you feel warm and fuzzy. He is not there to validate your worldly wisdom and to massage you when you fall short, and whisper in your ear soothingly, “it’s perfectly OK, go get ’em next time!” He flipped over tables in righteous anger and one time said to Peter, “Get behind me Satan.” He didn’t say, “Aw, I understand your thinking, but…”

Every sin we commit breaks his heart. We’re not supposed to lightly brush it off, but we’re called to repent and understand why it’s offensive to God—then we need to earnestly strive to never do it again. If you don’t feel remorse for your sin, then sorry, I don’t see how you can possibly be saved and have the Holy Spirit within you. Examine yourselves in light of scripture (not the “nice Christian” next to you who may or may not be saved), and check and check and check again.

Whenever we condone or even encourage something God hates, He doesn’t take it lightly. If we want to get a glimpse of what God is like, we need to read both the Old Testament and the New Testament. Skeptics will never understand, but so be it. I’m pretty much done trying to convince close-minded (or as the Bible calls them, “stiff-necked”) people. I don’t even know if I really care about apologetics anymore.  There is already an impossibly large field of harvest for those who are already open-minded to God and think themselves to be Christians (but aren’t really there yet). If the information out there isn’t enough for you skeptics, then it’s a heart issue of pride, cultural/chronological snobbery, and self-exaltation. Don’t pretend like it’s all logical. That’s pretty much all there is. “Those who have an ear, let him hear.” God shouldn’t have to beg or go through hoops for you. He already did way more than enough by sending Christ to pay for your sins.

After Jesus’ death and resurrection, we have the chance to be seen as clean in God’s sight. But that doesn’t change who God is by nature. He doesn’t take things lightly, and every time we brush things off casually, we’re figuratively spitting on the cross; we’re saying, “thanks buddy, glad you experienced the full wrath of God that so I can live however I want now.”

I hate it when I feel guilty or “weird” for being zealous. I hate it when I have to tone things down or hold back when it comes to God’s word. When did God ever rebuke someone for caring too much about His commands? Never. In fact, He downright expects it. Moses—who was beloved and great in God’s sight—was punished severely for slightly deviating from God’s command. God said for Moses to speak to the rock for it to provide water. Instead, Moses remembered the first time he got water from the rock, which was by striking it with his staff, and did the same here. By using his staff rather than his words, God punished him by not allowing him to see the Promised Land in his lifetime. How much worse are we? We don’t simply bend God’s commands slightly, we straight up disobey or even laugh alongside sinners who commit abominations in God’s sight. God loves all and gives everyone a way to Him through Christ—there is neither Jew nor Gentile in His sight anymore. But one thing God is not? Tolerant and “open-minded.”

Tolerance is considered the highest good in modern American society today. To be sure, in certain forms, it can be a very positive thing, especially in light of this country’s past mistakes; wrongfully dehumanizing fellow human beings who are just as much created in the image of God as any of us. But tolerating wrong and deviant behavior? Absolutely unacceptable.

Being “chill” and open-minded Christians is not the highest standard toward which we should aspire. I would rather be a Bible-thumping lunatic who upholds God’s word than be the “nice” Christian with whom everyone can get along. Many people in Jesus’ time hated Him. They thought He was crazy and judgmental. We need to get our lives in order so that we do not become hypocrites, but rebuke is part of Christian life. If I hear “we’re not supposed to judge” in the wrong context one more time, I might blow…

We’re supposed to “judge” or rebuke things that are blatantly wrong—if we have clear evidence from the Bible. Period. We’re NOT supposed to condescend or judge in a way where we say, “I’m better than you” or “You’re so bad, thank goodness I’m so holy.” We are all wretches, and even our best works are like filthy rags before God apart from the Holy Spirit (the actual translation is far more graphic). But we’re not supposed to be wishy-washy, wimpy Christians who just want to fit in and get along. If I have to point out something and be accused of being judgmental, so be it. Maybe it’s impossible to rebuke without coming across as condescending (people are so thin-skinned and defensive). I’d rather err on the side of being a fanatic than being lukewarm and worldly.

Smiley and gentle Christians who shy away from the just and wrathful side of God like to say, “Oh, that’s not MY God. My God is a sweetheart.” Well, yea He is. But if that’s all He is to you, then you’re worshiping an incomplete God; the wrong God. He’s more than just a teddy bear, so take Him out of your box, and stop constructing Him in your own image. If everything God is and says must conform to your opinions before you’ll accept it, then you might as well exalt your own wisdom and start a new religion. Write your own holy book.

Christianity is not about how it makes you feel. It’s not about living “your best life now.” It’s not even about whether or not you like or agree with what’s in the Bible. All that matters is whether it’s true or not, and if we proclaim that we believe, why do we act like the Bible doesn’t REALLY mean what it so clearly says?

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  1. Michael
    September 22, 2011 at 11:47 am

    Thanks for the post.
    A lot of points you listed I’ve been dealing with the very same thing that you ranted about in the past few months.

    There is a severe misunderstanding of what grace and love is. There is also a severe misunderstanding of what a proper exhortation should be. There is also an empty and shallow understanding of true repentance is. Whenever I talk about true repentance people always bring up the difference between the repentance for salvation and repentance for personal growth (sanctification). It’s as if people want to cling on to their sin yet hold to Christ for salvation. Remember the Rich Young Ruler? It makes me sick. Literally, I get tension headaches because I want to explain and exhort others to understanding this point and to repent, and often times the conversations gets misunderstood as condemning or “judging”. These days I notice that I hold my tongue more often than I should to not come off “overly zealous”. Instead of feeling alright doing the right thing by keeping peace, I feel like I am disobeying the Father. Being chill is not good….

    To think that the gospel only applies at that moment of confessing Christ as your Lord and Saviour is a very shallow and borderline counterfeit gospel. The gospel applies to the beginning, the middle, and the end. God saved you, is saving you and will save you.

    Here is an excellent video correctly describing God’s love and grace and it’s from the man that many judge to be mean, scornful and condemning.

    • September 22, 2011 at 12:56 pm

      Could not agree more, man. I’ve felt pressured to “chill” a little bit, and instead of feeling at peace with it, I feel increasingly conflicted. At first, I didn’t understand why I felt this way, but I’m convinced it’s the Holy Spirit basically telling me that I’m being ashamed of the gospel in a subtle way. When I read the Old Testament, it shows me how soft and weak-minded we are today. We use Jesus as a crutch to keep living compromised, sinful lives rather than acting more fervently out of genuine gratitude. And when I read about Jesus, I don’t see a soft-spoken, smiley sort of guy. I see a manly man who stood his ground, spoke his mind, and served with all of his effort. “WWJD”? He wouldn’t passively mutter in the corner against this world, that’s for sure.

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