I guess I would say that the real question isn’t why Christians are so mean–I don’t think they are necessarily meaner than anybody else.
The real question is: why are Christians mean when they should be a people of joy?Why are #Christians mean when they should be a people of #joy ? Click To Tweet
A People of Joy
We read in Acts 2:42-47 of the earliest Christian communities. These were people who used their resources to serve one another, holding nothing back, who gathered together regularly “with glad and generous hearts” (v. 46) and who “had the goodwill of all the people” (v. 47).
If we are members of churches that care for our communities—and we ought to, if we love Jesus—then this propensity to meanness should concern us.
After all, the Christians of Acts 2, who gathered with “glad and generous hearts” were people who enjoyed “the goodwill of all the people.”
All the people. Not just their fellow Christians, but all the people.
Luke goes on to say, in Acts 2:47, “And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” It’s clear that Luke intends for his audience to understand that the gladness and generosity that characterized the first Christians led to their having favor, which in turn led to people being saved.
Are We Really Transformed?Our effect on our #community will not be the result of what we do, but the result of who we are. Click To Tweet
If we are really a people who have had our deepest need met, having been redeemed by Jesus, then meanness is ruled out. We ought to be joyful, generous, and, as it says in Titus 2:14, “zealous for good works.”
If we have had our lives transformed by the good news of Jesus, then we are to be a people known, not for our meanness, but for our love, peace, and joy.
If we want to manifest the love of God in our communities, then, let’s commit ourselves to practicing our faith, cultivating the gladness, generosity and joy that should be ours. Let’s “live at peace with everyone,” as Paul says in Romans 12:18.
As we do this we will find that our effect on our community will not be the result of what we do, but the result of who we are.
See God Work
This will rule out the sort of meanness that Edmondson notes above.
If we are Christians, we are people who have recognized our own brokenness, and have recognized that we cannot remake ourselves. Our joy flows from the fact that, in spite of our lack of merit, God loved and saved us.
How, then, can we live out our faith with a mean spirit?
No, if we would honor the God whose love has redeemed and restored us, then we ought to put aside the spirit of arrogance that leads to meanness, and put on the humility of the God who for love’s sake humbled himself.
Then our neighbors will see that a commitment to Jesus results,
not in mean-spiritedness,
but in humility,
Then we will see our God work in astonishing ways in our communities.