We’re living in confusing times. Many aspects of life that we take for granted are now being uprooted and shifted into an entirely different version of normal. It’s scary. It’s uncomfortable. And it’s got a lot of people all turned around, including Christians.
In an age like this, there’s no shortage of strong opinions. It’s easy to hop on social media bandwagons as you get caught up in the emotions of this moment.
But we have to be careful. Sometimes, in the midst of our intense emotions, we don’t always see the situation as clearly as we should. And because of that, we might take up banners that aren’t befitting of our calling as followers of Jesus.
Where that’s the case, the bible has strong words for us.
“Woe to those who call evil good
and good evil,
who put darkness for light
and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet
and sweet for bitter!”
No one ever thinks they’re doing something evil. If they did, odds are that they wouldn’t be doing it. But sometimes we genuinely think that something is good, when in fact it’s evil.
Here are 5 evil things that some Christians are calling good.
Divisiveness often masks itself as the virtue of standing up for what you believe is right. And while we should never compromise what we believe to be morally correct, we also need to recognize that not every issue is morally black and white. In complex situations, complex moral decisions need to be made.
When we begin calling into question the spiritual standing of other Christians based on their COVID-19 precautions or partisan affiliation (or lack thereof), we over-simplify the situation. And in so doing, we divide the Church of Jesus.
So this is a reminder that it’s possible to disagree and still promote a spirit of unity.
“I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them.”
Don’t be the kind of person that others are compelled to avoid because of your divisiveness.
2. Promoting Untruth, Half-Truths, and Misleading “Facts”
If you spend any time on social media, it seems like truth is a moving target. We’re constantly inundated with information from a variety of different sources–all saying contradictory things. And yet we too often blindly believe whatever appears in our feed and encourage others to do the same.
When you get caught up in the moment, it’s tempting to reshare a titillating video or infographic and urge your Facebook friends to “wake up.” But before you do that, make sure you vet the information, paying special attention to evidence supporting dissenting views.
As a follower of Jesus, you are in the truth business. Perpetrating falsehood is the work of the enemy.
“The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are trustworthy.” (Proverbs 12:22)
Do everything to make sure that you don’t have lying lips. Even if a lie didn’t originate with you, it’s your responsibility and obligation to make sure that you don’t spread it.
This season of life has taken a lot away from many people. People have lost their comforts and hobbies, their jobs, time with their families, their health, and even the lives of their loved ones.
It’s natural to be hurt, upset, and fearful. But we can’t let these circumstances allow you to turn yourself inwardly or to advocate only for what makes you most comfortable rather than what’s in the best interests of your community, region, or nation as a whole.
This is what Paul encourages the church to do.
“Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:4)
What’s missing in much of our public discourse about our “rights” is the responsibility to use those rights and freedoms for the good of others. Fighting for the rights of others is far more important than fighting for your own comforts.
Having your faith convictions inform your political beliefs, your opinions about the current public discourse, and your church leadership plan in response to a global pandemic is good. Actually, it’s essential. However, we need to hold everything we can with an open hand, rather than with an iron fist.
Because when you hold every opinion with an iron fist, you tend to lash out against those who disagree with you. You lash out at public officials and political opponents. You lash out against neighbors and friends who disagree with you. You become a voice of dissent against other churches down the road who are loved by Jesus just as much as you are.
And what’s crazy is that in the midst of our outbursts of anger and even hatred, we feel completely justified. But we’re only contributing to a toxic culture. So that’s why Paul urges us to put all our spitefulness away.
“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.” (Ephesians 4:31)
If you feel your blood pressure begin to spike every time you talk about an important issue, it’s a pretty good indicator that you have some spitefulness that you need to do away with.
5. Prideful disobedience
The events of 2020 have caused American Church leaders to spend time wrestling with what it means to be the Church in ways that weren’t imaginable a year ago. And as some churches begin to meet in person again, each has enacted plans based on their convictions.
In some cases, certain churches have begun in-person gatherings despite the recommendation of government officials and in opposition to set guidelines. And as they have done so, they have cited their priority to obey God rather than man. I can fully appreciate and respect these convictions, whether I agree with them or not.
What I do find troubling is the spirit of defiance that has sometimes accompanied these decisions. Holding in-person gatherings despite government orders not to as a matter of conviction is one thing. Flagrantly disregarding any and all safety recommendations about social distancing and mask wearing is another. Furthermore, speaking with an arrogant tone about your flagrant disregard and encouraging others to flippantly ignore all requests from government leaders is not a virtue. It’s sin.
Holding to your convictions is one thing. Flaunting disobedience is another.
“By insolence comes nothing but strife, but with those who take advice is wisdom.” (Proverbs 13:10)
Wisdom appears to be in short supply these days. But the good news is that wisdom and honor are the birthright of everyone who truly fears the Lord.
Take heed, lest you fall.
Temptation toward any of these things is nothing new. They are common to humanity regardless of age, culture, geography or historical context. None of us is above falling prey to any of them. And we’re equally susceptible to tricking ourselves into believing that they aren’t a problem for us.
That’s why Paul offers us this stern warning.
Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.”
(1 Corinthians 10:12)
I invite you to take stock of the things you’re allowing into your heart and into your life. Because whatever comes in is going to come right back out. And what proceeds from us should always be for the building up of the Church and expanding the mission of Jesus to those who don’t know him.
This is important. Do the good work you were created to do.