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Christians with Terrible Social Graces

Now if it were the first time, it would simply be a rant, which is probably what this is going to turn into anyway. But I am tired of Christians who neglect the simplest forms of social etiquette, like returning an email, phone call or a simple nod of the head to acknowledge your existence.

First and foremost, I’m still pretty worldly, well considered so, to use a church term. I get the definite feel that is what many think. Actually, It’s not even a feeling. It’s been said straight to me. It’s like in high school when I was fat one year and skinny the next. I was never considered skinny even when I became deathly skinny with an eating disorder. I’m sure if there were a water cooler at church, people would be saying, just give him some time. He’s still being convicted by the Holy Spirit.

Although, I’m not so sure it’s the Holy Spirit who should be coming my way on this one. I’m pretty sure it has something to do with verses like this.

2 Corinthians 6:14 Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?

Even my study Bible points to a necessary separation between ‘true’ believers and unbelievers who follow Christ but throw in some other stuff. But that’s not what the verse says. Paul goes on further, “What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?” He’s talking about Christians and idol worshippers here, plain and simple. Yoking oneself to the unbeliever would mean marrying or leading a life with them where you were relying on them in a spiritual sense.

In most cases, I don’t see Christians neglecting to be friendly to non-believers.

However, 2 Corinthians 6:14 is being applied in another sense as I see it, and it’s not pretty. Christians are using it as an excuse to blatantly ignore other fellow believers. What’s worse, I feel a tendency to start following in that direction. Well, I won’t have it. God convict me on this one. We are to be a help, a blessing to other believers, both leaders and followers. But what I see is this. Romans 1:31 – 32 they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

Do you know the senseless harm felt by a new believer who feels neglected, rejected or ignored by brothers and sisters in Christ? It can be the tiniest thing like not returning an email which can grow monumental in their mind. And what angers me is when I have made a simple request. And when the answer is no, a simple no is not returned. Instead there is simply no response. I guess we are supposed to assume the no, forgive the person or suspect they are simply too busy doing God’s work to respond.

You know I think many attribute the following to worldly wealth, which it directly discusses, but miss the deeper lesson.

Luke 16:10     Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.

Well what are the ‘true riches’ Jesus is pointing to in the next verse, verse 11? In this world, they are God, Godly ways, a Godly heart, people, time, trust, caring, brotherly love.

So,

1) Tear down walls. Why do you put up a wall between yourself and other believers? If Jesus can protect you from demons, the devil and sins of all sorts, do you think He can’t protect you from another Jesus follower? If the other Jesus follower has some issue which causes you trouble, maybe you need to let them know. They could actually need a correction or it could be that you yourself are in need of correction. Nothing is accomplished and the Kingdom is not strengthened by neglecting the issue. If love and relationships are everything, you are missing out and damaging relationships by erecting a wall.

2) Learn to Say No. Sometimes you need to say no. There could be a million reasons this needs to be said, but you need to voice it. Simply neglecting to give an answer is not an answer and is disrespectful to another who is also a child of God. Saying no can be at times difficult. But please reread Luke 16:10 and understand its importance. Return emails, phone calls and acknowledge others. Heck, don’t simply return them. Be proactive. We are made to be in relationship and loving each other. Stop being selfish because that’s what this behavior is.

3) Love the New Christian. You welcomed them in and loved them in their sin. But as soon as they asked Jesus to come into their life, you’re work is done and you can now freely scorn them for failing to live up to some kind of standard. Do we believe in Grace and Romans 8 or are we returning to the law? If you feel your work is complete as soon as someone has asked for Jesus’ forgiveness, then you are playing some kind of quota game. Our Lord is quantitative, but to a much larger extent qualitative.

Ephesians 2:8-9     For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-not by works, so that no one can boast.

Philippians 2:1-4     If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

You know, I had to change high schools before I was no longer considered fat. Well no more. Learn to love us or get out of our way. You are stuck with us for eternity. Or are you really going to attempt to stay on the opposite side of heaven?

Hebrews 10:25     Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another-and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Hebrews 3:13     But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.

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