Have you ever wanted to say something like that to people? [Or worse?] When someone is being nothing but a bag of jerks, this is what I want to exclaim.
This would, in fact, be kinda jerky.
Why is the church so often filled with a bunch of jerks? From the Westboro church spewing hatred to wimpy Christians complaining about the décor of their coffee cups, it’s amazing to me that the message of love, mercy, forgiveness, and grace is still connected to Christianity.
Somehow Jesus drew people to Himself, even though He said some pretty tough things about sin. I am convinced that the tax collectors and prostitutes knew where Jesus stood about their sinful ways.
Yet they still loved to be around Him.
John the Baptist is one of the most enigmatic figures in Scripture. He wore clothes made from camel hair and ate bugs, preached about turning from sin, drew throngs of people into the desert to hear him, and even baptized Roman soldiers looking to get right with God. The nation loved him; the people in power feared him. Even Jesus had some pretty high praise for the guy. “I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist.“
John the Baptist called people to provide for the poor, tax collectors to stop ripping people off, and Roman soldiers to keep from extorting money. He was “the voice of one calling out into the wilderness…” cheering the country to change before The Messiah arrived. Get this–He wasn’t a jerk about it.
Why do people assume they have to be a jerk about telling others to change?
I had a suite mate named Dave my sophomore year in college. Great guy. He didn’t follow Jesus, at least in my humble opinion at the time. [It wasn’t so humble.] I invited him to our church because it was a rocking place to find community. That didn’t interest him, so I tried coming up with other ways of reaching him.
My inspired way of trying to reach Dave–not my best moment by a looooooooong shot–was correcting his speech. [You can see that this isn’t going to end well, right?]
Here’s an example.
Dave (in reaction to something disappointing): Oh S#!T!
Me (in semi-mockery humor): Where?? I don’t want to step in it!
Dave: *blank, annoyed stare*
I did this a bunch. I had other tricks with phrases like “Oh my God!” to try to be amusing. My evangelism wasn’t Billy Graham, for sure.
Eventually, Dave told me that he felt belittled and stupid whenever I did that. I apologized and immediately stopped.
So stupid. So jerky.
Mike Slaughter, a pastor in Ohio, recently wrote a piece about how we should not give up chocolate, social media, or what-have-you for Lent. Instead, he says, Christ followers should give up being a jerk for 40 days. Stop treating other people like slime and start acting in more loving ways. Treat people as human. It’s a great post; check it out.
I bring up John the Baptist and share my college story because I wholeheartedly believe that we can call people back to the LORD without being an overbearing bag of jerks. Try a different approach than shouting louder than someone else or pushing our way around on Facebook, Twitter, or wherever else you roam on the Interweb.
Be Jesus-y or John the Baptist-y in expressing what you think. The world has enough Jerky Boys to go around.