Should Christians Call Others Out

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 In a world full of anger and hate, should Christians join the crowd by calling out other Christians or non-believers

I have been the chief of all sinners when it comes to spewing hate and sharing how awful other people are. Maybe I’m alone in this sin. It’s one that ran deep into my soul until God turned me over to that sin and allowed me to take it to the pinnacle it needed to reach in order to lay me low to the ground, confess, repent and turn to Him and His truth rather than my own need to air the ugly in my heart or the ugly of others.

Yes, the chief among sinners must come clean. God has broken my desire to whip out words that hurt and speak poorly of others. He has called out the gossip and turned my stomach sour due to the stench it has caused in His kingdom. He shares with me truth that this journey in life is one in which we will all fall prey to the depths of sin if we don’t keep our eyes on him and even when we do, we are all still sinners saved by the grace of God.

So, why do we spew hate and harsh words against our brothers and sisters? Why do we think we are good enough to call out others whether they have confessed or not. Matthew 18 shares the truth of how we are to handle issues with our fellow sinners in the church – we are to talk with them in private, have others go with us to talk with them if they won’t hear the truth and then and only then, treat them as an outsider. I don’t see in that passage where we are to spew hate across the phone or internet lines. Even Jesus said ““Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.” (Luke 18:19)

The world is so full of anger that we are all feeling the hurt and angst of it. Every Christian seems to be on the verge of falling apart from attacks or attacking others because our eyes on focused on the wrong thing – (whatever that thing may be) that distracts us from fulfilling the only thing we are truly here to do – “Go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19).

Now, we have facebook, facebook groups, twitter, direct messages, private messages, email, texting, instant messaging, google groups, google hang outs, skype, skype private groups, skype messaging and the list goes on and on. All ways to interact with others across the world. More opportunity to gossip and tear others apart. It’s so easy to do this when you sit at a computer and think ‘no one will know’ or ‘surely, this person won’t repeat my words because they are doing the same thing’...

Yet, we forget – God is in the room. He knows.

Jesus spoke truth. He didn’t withhold it, but, He was Jesus. WE are not. We have His words and His truth, but we are not Him. He gives us no power, nor authority to judge others unfairly. He tells us in Matthew 7 that we will be judged by the same measure in which we judge others. He reminded the ‘teachers of the law and Pharisees’ who brought a woman caught in adultery (not the other party, obviously since she had been caught there was another party involved) – through whatever he wrote and by his words – “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her” (John 8:7). After he stooped low and wrote in the sand (of which man was made through Him) they dropped their stones and left.

Yes, Christians will fall. We live in a fallen world. But to call out others – to humiliate them and cast them out is part of what keeps the world at a distance to the Father. They see the hypocrisy in our own actions as we spew hate against others who have sinned and repented or even those who haven’t repented.

Should we speak truth? Yes.

Should we ignore sin? No.

Should we antagonize and force others to their knees because we have not committed the sins they have? Should we stir up hate and anger even if we are completely right in a matter?

These questions will be answered either on the day we decide that sharing mercy with others is more important than being right, or they will be answered when we stand in front of God as we cross from this sinful world into the arms of Jesus. We will all stand there. Our sins may be washed away because of your faith in Christ, but every moment here will have an eternal impact.

What will that impact be?

Will it be one that testifies our life was focused on loving our enemies (Matthew 5:44) and sharing truth with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15) even when others slander us (1 Peter 3:16)? Will we remember that we are all enemies of God who are only reconciled to God through the death of His son (Romans 5:10) so that no one can boast (Ephesians 2:8-9, 1 Cor 1:29-31)?

Every moment is one in which we can share truth in respect and gentleness. Everyday we have opportunities to bring light to the fact that even those who are considered leaders in the Christian world may sway a little from God’s truth. We can remember that we all have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23) and Jesus gave us a “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34-35.)

We can remember that each and every person was created by the Heavenly Father – who are we to say others have no right to experience his grace? Who are we to tattle tale?

That’s what we need to remember when we are tempted gossip privately or in the open about others. When we blame others for our own lack of faith in God. Our eyes should be on Him and we should be a reflection of Him. But, we must remember, we are NOT Jesus. If we follow someone else’s theology or ideology of how we should live, eat, breath, dress – whatever – we are following Man and not Jesus. If we follow a man and it causes harm, we can’t blame that person: truly we only have ourselves to blame.

WE should not be like Adam and Eve – blaming others for our own lack of keeping our eyes on God.

When we stand before Him, we won’t have the audacity to say “Yes, Father, I sinned, but this person told me to do this, or they were out saying/doing that”…

So, should we call others out?

That’s a question each person must answer for themselves. For me, the answer is no. I can’t think of a time when I have publicly or privately humiliated another person by calling them out, when they fell to their knees and said “Wow, YOU are so right.” If anything, I have witnessed the opposite…  I’ve called out and I’ve been called out, harassed and hurt by words that no person had the right to speak against me, anymore than I had the right to speak against them. And those times drove me and those I have hurt to more sin and condemnation.

Those thorns will never go away. They are missed opportunities to share Jesus and his grace and mercy.

The thorns I have caused others not only hurt that person, but their family as well. Likewise, the thorns and arrows shot at me were not just felt by me, but my family.

This world is so angry… and I’m choosing to not be part of it. I’m choosing to remember that some Christians have been taught poor doctrine, some have been taught nothing and others have not been called to God yet. I am not here to identify where anyone is on their journey but to realize that each person is following some type of truth or lie. I have my own battles to fight within my own heart, have enough bad doctrine (to correct) and have to answer to Jesus myself for how I spend each moment on this planet. Whether or not I’m right won’t matter a hill of beans when I stand before Him and I can’t think I want my tomb stone to say: “She was right and she brought others to Christ through condemning them.”

I don’t believe in selling a ‘light’ version of Jesus. But, who am I to call out publicly the sins of others? Go to one another in love, speak truth based on Matthew 18, but do it with grace and respect. And if you can’t, then walk away because it may be that God opened your eyes to the sin of other so that you can address that very sin in your own life.

Our children are watching. The world is watching. More than that, God is watching. Is he pleased with what He is witnessing? Let that be the thought that rules our thoughts, actions and words – nothing more or less than pleasing our Father so that when we stand in front of Him, he can say “Well done, good and faithful servant (Matthew 25:23).

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Comments

  1. I think you are lovely in your confession and in your gentle reprimand. I’ve seen so much lately of Christians, not correcting one another in love, or discussing the issue at hand, but hurling stones at the person they perceive to have done wrong. I think one thing they (and I, at times, I’m sure) forget is that, even though a Christian figure is public, he is still to be treated as a child of God. I’m thinking specifically of people like Ken Ham and Pat Robertson, who are frequently mistreated, people calling them idiots (if you call your brother a fool…what was that Jesus said again? Something about being in danger of hell fire?), denouncing them in the angriest possible language because, on the Ham side, there’s too much insistence that there’s a debate going on, and we need to have it, and on Robertson’s side, well, he’s Pat. We all know his lips go a little loose sometimes, but I do believe he’s still to be treated with dignity.

    Rather than taking their words and arguments in a rational and loving way, people excoriate them as the WRONG kind of Christians. But it’s ok, because they are NOT like THOSE Christians. Well, I am like these Christians. I get things wrong, like Poor ol’ Pat. I sin, like brothers unnamed who have recently been caught in sin. I stand on the word of God (like Ken Ham, yes) even when other Christians start mocking me for it and trying to silence me rather than engaging the debate.

    Next time something like these gossip-worthy things happens, pay attention. Who is respectful? Who is saddened by sin, rather than encouraged by it? Who calls for repentance of (real) sin? Who recognizes what “offenses” are sin, and which are mere disagreement? Those are the people we need to emulate. And these are the people we need to trust, frankly. Because they are the ones who are disciples of Christ.

    By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” –John 13:35

    • Yes, I agree with you 100%. We are all created by God and too often we forget that we are ‘that’ Christian (or even non-Christian). We get so caught up in our way being right that we forget God’s ways are not man’s ways. We can lovingly call attention to truth. But this ongoing animosity and hostility is not a glory to God – it is an abomination.

      I am often reminded of a ‘leader’ in the homeschool community that has sinned and publicly confessed. It has disheartened me to see so many who want others to ‘throw them under the bus and keep running over him’ rather than remembering that like we are all sinners, so is he and he has a family who has been humiliated and a God who has been dishonored. Is this person right in their doctrine/theology? well…not so much. But what about those who followed him, don’t they have a responsibility before God for their lack of faith in him and their desire to put faith in a man?

      In the end, when we take our final breath, what legacy will we be leaving? Will it be one of following Jesus or the world? Will it be one with grace, love and respect or one of self righteous anger?

      Oh, how i fall short…and how I need to remember the grace and mercy I have received…even when I was still an enemy of God.

  2. I am so glad to read this! It is so hard to know how others will take our “rebuke,” to use Paul’s term. I find what frustrates me, if I love someone and want to offer an opinion out of love, it can be taken as not loving-I truly pray that God knows each of our hearts and our intentions. Right now I sit there-at ‘intention’. If one Christian is rebuking another, it would be the reason behind it that should matter, I would hope. I do know that people in my life who I know, without a doubt, love me, can often say things I do not like to hear. I need to hear them. In this world, all the offense taken I think is a bigger symptom of missing love. When we are raised with loving parents who teach us truth and speak it to us, for me I know has helped me develop an appreciation for constructive criticism. I am not sure if the foundation of love is missing that we would be willing to hear advice or opinions without just shrugging them off as hateful when they are not meant to be so. There is so much ‘worldly’ noise that we have to quiet in all of this. I truly think intention matters. I am just a sinner as well though so I would hope to receive rebuke from those who love me so I can continue ti do my best for God. Do you think he will let us plead our case on judgement day? I might need that! :)

  3. Thank you for this post. It is beautiful.

    You know, sometimes we just don’t have to say anything when a sister wrongs us. (this is a hard leasson learned for me, very hard!)

    We can simply pray for the one who offends or wrongs us. Recently someone did something that, honestly, I can think of no other reason she would do except to hurt me. I think she sees me as competition (which is weird because in this area she is worlds beyond me and I didn’t think she was like that) and she saw this as a way to ‘knock down’ the competition.

    I thought about asking her why she had done what she had done. But instead, I walked away. The Holy Spirit told me it wasn’t worth it, it wasn’t a big deal.

    And what happened was God used that wrong action on her part to convict me in a related area of my life to prepare me for what was to come a couple of months later. It was amazing when I realized how this small wrong had this huge ripple effect! He sees what we can’t and knows things we don’t. He uses all things for the good of those who love him!

    • Yes, God is so good, Sonita. He has corrected me through so many situations recently in a loving and gentle way. And you are right, if we can hand it over to God, sometimes saying anything (even in private) is not necessary.

  4. This is a wonderful post! I too fall short. Im guilty of snarling at the bad I see in others. Thanks for sharing.