I recently read a tweet from a Christian that touched me in a profound way:
We become more and more joyless and call it Jesus. More and more hateful and call it holiness. Less and less creative and call it maturity. We like fewer and fewer people and call it sanctification. We must think Jesus had the worst personality on earth.
I believe that on the whole Christians are well-intentioned, and because Christians have a profound fear of God (and hell) they are desperate for others to know Jesus and practise sound doctrine. But I also recognise that if we’re not careful, the fear of God can turn us into horrible people.
I have been guilty of rebuking people for what I have regarded as ungodly behaviour. When Christians do this we feel as though we are sticking up for the gospel and helping people. But let us always keep in mind what Jesus said about judging others:
And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. (Matthew 7:3-5 NKJV)
It seems to me that no two Christians believe exactly the same things. So we should be especially careful about rebuking one another, and aim instead to show love and kindness, care and understanding, and empathy, with our neighbours.
Surely the fruit of the Spirit, as we read about in Galatians, should be evident in the lives of believers if we are truly committed to living in a godly way:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23a NKJV)
Perhaps you have noticed yourself turning into a hard-hearted, joyless, uncreative, self-righteous Christian who is so eager not to be tainted by ‘the world’ that you find yourself living in a hateful bubble. If so, is it time to re-examine your faith and seek God afresh?