Occasionally I come across a news report or other medium about a group of Christians behaving in a way that angers people. Sometimes they are doing right, other times they are just looking like idiots. The signs this kid is holding for example are one of those time where “Christians” are looking like idiots and sadly has painted so many with this brush that it turns people off religion all together.
The devil has many ways to convince people to stay away from Christ. Sadly he has even been effective in using those belonging to what they claim is a christian organization to do his dirty work. I say claim to be christian because the behavior of these so called christian is about the furthest from christian behavior that I can imagine. These types of “Christians” spend there time spreading messages of hate. The most famous, at least in North America is the Westboro Baptist Church. I think many have been made well aware of their antics. They spew hate almost daily and enrage the masses. This is why they have gained so much international media attention. Their activities demonstrate an excessive hatred of all mankind who don’t subscribe to their extreme ideology, cloaked in christian mask, masquerading as God’s messengers using the bible as their guide. In an episode of the X-Files, Agent Mulder can be quoted as saying “even the devil can quote scripture to suite his purposes.”
When faced with someone or a group of people that profess to belong to the cause of Christ, one can easily identify whose purposes they are serving by their fruits. The very public act of condemning anyone they don’t agree with to hell and spewing such hateful messages like God hates you if you don’t join with us is false and is nothing more than lies conceived by the devil in a very successful attempt to create division rather than unity. Hate instead of Love. This is what it boils down to and this does not bring people to Christ. The hatred and anger is spread like a wild fire through our society and creates divides so wide that they may never be able to bridge them again. This sensational hatred of all that is Christ Gospel disguised as a gospel message is at the root of the devils plan to destroy the hearts of men and lead them down to hell.
Behavior like this does the exact opposite of the perpetrators claimed objective. While it might win a few people to their cause, I would say that for every person who joins this group 100 oppose it. Behaving in such a manner causes people to run or equally as loud, raise voice of opposition. These actions do more than harm the reputation of the one perpetrating it but they also have the result of damaging the reputation of Christianity in general. When people see a group of “Christians” behaving in such a way it sends the message that this is what Christianity is all about.
The side effect of such hatred and abusive behavior by those that claim to be Christian is seen in so many aspects of our lives. Christianity is being stamped out of the public sphere. We can’t say Merry Christmas without offending someone. A christian baker or church can’t refuse to provide services for Gay Marriage without public hatred spewed upon them and arm of the law forcing them to take part in those things they find offensive. The public image of Christianity is being assaulted and torn apart with destructive force on a scale unprecedented in history. When the actions of “Christians” help contribute to this problem we are in far more serious trouble than just a general societal rejection of Christ.
But let’s be honest Christians are not the only ones who deal with these problems. In North America the ones we hear about being a threat are Islamic Terrorist. The vast majority of Islamic or Muslim worshipers are peaceful intelligent people that have been branded with the image of hate and intolerance. Ironically we hear more hate and intolerance from the very same people who claim it is Islam that has hate and intolerance of us. The constant barrage of media telling us how they hate us and we are good and they are the evil terrorist extremest that must be destroyed. That we must wage war on terror to stamp out such vile hatred and evil in the world. It is our leaders that are committing acts of war and terrorizing innocents all in the name of stamping out evil and terror. We hear about it almost constantly in the news media about how they hate us and have committed acts of extreme aggression and violence against us. This group of people suffer on a much grander scale the destruction of the image of their religion at the hands of a few than any extremest christian group has cause Christians to suffer at the hands of people like the Westboro Baptist Church.
The Crusades are another example of religious extremism that lead to senseless suffering of the innocent all in the name of God. The behavior of those behind such terrible wars and violence creates a message of hate and hostility while preaching peace. It is contradictory and hypocritical. As God the father once said to Joseph Smith “They draw near to me with their lips but their hearts are far from me, for they speak with a form of Godliness but deny the power thereof”.
Because of these issues and situation it is imperative that we as Christians focus our efforts on spreading peace, love and respect for all individuals. We must make a concerted and focused effort to establish the good name of Christ where ever we go. We must take upon us his name in all that we do. We have a responsibility to show the world what is right and what Christ’s gospel is truly about. We must spread love not hate.
While we certainly can understand that Christ came to shake up the status quo he did not come here to spread hate and hostilities. There is no denying that there was much hate in response to his preaching. We must acknowledge that Christ came to spread peace and love. If we are to reasonably share the gospel in the latter days we must do what Christ did. That is spread a message of repentance and love, not hate and discrimination. This does not mean that we tolerate evil, but we must ensure that when we speak out against evil we do so out of love, not hate. “For no greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends”.
If we can do this then we will be better Christians, Better members of the church and work to improve and solidify the reputation of what it is to be Christian.
And that is the Gospel According to Andrew.