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I don't know what to think anymore...


I don't know what to think anymore...
Name: Author Withheld
Add a little more detail (optional): John 13:35
King James Version (KJV)
"By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another."

I have observed tons of infighting amongst "God's people" in my lifetime, and it disturbs me. People convinced they have the truth increasingly act in ways I believe the Bible condemns. It's gotten me wondering if we actually value the Bible as anything more than a book to fuel our arguments.

Where is the "love of God" in the so-called people of God? I have been brought up told that Baptists believe the Bible, that we have the truth...

I am sure there are people out there who are the real deal, but I don't see them. All I see is hypocrisy, and valid criticisms by athiests.

I will be honest. I'm struggling. I am sure God is out there,but my vision is marred by the hypocrisy I see around me.


7 Comments

We can love people but disagree with them.

You have a valid concern, for sure, but the problem is not with God or His Word. It lies within sinful man and how people use the Bible. Satan looks for many ways erode Christianity and this is one of them. A few things to consider:

- Not everyone who calls themself a Christian is one (Matt 7:22-23)
- There is only one right answer in terms of the Gospel and the doctrines it affirms but there will be many people who claim a different answer and we are supposed to remain separate from them (Matt 7:15; Gal 1:8-9; Rom 16:17)
- We are supposed to study Scripture so that we can stand firm and defend our faith, but "with meakness and fear" (1 Pet 3:15)

There exists a multitude of denominations because people arrive at differing (and often faulty) conclusions of Scriptural truth. People think they have the right answer and so thus hold a position. I am a Baptist because I think the Baptist answer is right. If I thought the Methodists were right, I would be a Methodist. Aside from false doctrine, the problem of conflict as you're describing comes in because people are inherently and grossly flawed. As long as there are people, there will be hypocrisy and and ungodly behavior. There will always be people in every denomination and likely in most churches that try to mold the Word of God into what they want and use it for their own purposes. Until the Lord returns people will be messing things up in unimaginable ways. Where many people err is that they forget the "meakness and fear" of 1 Peter 3:15 and become combative and judgemental rather than loving and corrective which Scripture certainly does condemn.

John 13:35, as you cited, is absolutely true. Love for one another is an incredibly accurate measuring stick for how much of a disciple of Christ someone is. The best thing we can do as individuals is live this way ourselves and lead by example. However, we are ALL still sinners and mess up from time to time. I know of no person on earth who doesn't and I've met a lot of wonderful and loving people of God. You and I are no different and we do unloving things all the time whether we would like to admit it or not. If you find that you are the only one in your church who exhibits love then either your perception is off and you're not seeing the whole picture or you need to find another church if you can't affect change from within based on your testimony and example.

God and the Bible are not the problem. People are the problem. The first person that must be fixed is "me". Until we start working on "me" we will not be able to help change "they." Scripture should, first and foremost, be used as a mirror to reflect and fix ourselves and our relationship with God. Only then will it be effective for teaching others.

I am no counselor, but the best thing I can offer for your struggle is to turn your eyes on God and off of man. Maintain a right relationship with Him and He will take care of the rest.

"Trust the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct they paths." (Pro 3:5-6)

I particularly like this....

 

I am no counselor, but the best thing I can offer for your struggle is to turn your eyes on God and off of man. Maintain a right relationship with Him and He will take care of the rest.

 

So often I get dragged down by either looking down or even jumping down in the muck and mire of others. I've started avoiding some topics and people I believe reek with hypocrisy and look back to Jesus Christ and God's word. God has enough work to do on me without me getting down in there with the pigs. Reminds me...Don't wrestle with pigs, you get dirty and the pig likes it. 

Wisdom for any situation...

Proverbs 4:25 Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee.

It has always been this way to various degrees. If you look in the NT even in the days of the apostles there was a great deal of internal turmoil. For example in Philippians 2:1-16 Paul puts forth much of what a christian should be, but then just a few verses later in verses 19-21 he states that Timothy is about the only one available he can trust to send to them because just about everyone else is busy self promoting instead of following Christ properly. What does this mean? It means very few Christians are what they should be, but the failures of others do not have to hold you back personally and keep you from becoming the sort of Christian you should be unless YOU choose to allow it to. Don't think I don't understand where your coming from, I really do, but if and when you break out into the "next level" if you will and realize in your heart that others faults are not your problem, and that their failings are not not a fault with christianity, but rather a fault with human nature, then you will be much happier. Sometimes we think to much of others, we think them to be better christians than they really are, and in those times we can be hurt the most. The call of God to the Christian to do right and follow him must be a personal call that each person must learn to follow regardless of what others are doing. 

While I believe you have a legitimate concern, I cannot say that I have the same experience at all.  It is rather common in this day and age to state that observation of so-called "God's people" usually renders results of loads of angry and hate-filled persons, but my experience has often been quite the opposite.  I have known many of the most loving and caring individuals amongst Christian people.  Perhaps you have a limited sample to work from?  I have the fortune of living in an area where there are many Godly people, and I have found an incredible number of the most loving and genuine people I can imagine.

However, given your observation:

 

C.S. Lewis made an interesting observation in The Screwtape Letters it was something like this:

Let's pretend we have something like a rather contentious sort of woman who proclaims to be a "Christian"...

There is something we DON'T know about her, and that is essentially......

 

What would she be like if she were NOT a Christian?

 

In other words, it is quite possible that a "Christian" who is rather contentious might very well have been a down-right sociopath if left un-regenerate.

 

Granted, this is something of an appeal to ignorance, but allow me suggest this:

Let's assume that the Scriptures are completely correct in all of their truth-claims. 

1.) If it is true that the Scriptures are correct, than it stands to reason that Satan is hard at work attempting to defeat and attack and weaken and tempt God's people.

2.) If one is teaching falsehood and false religion, than Satan would NOT spend his time attacking that group and tempting them towards in-fighting etc... In fact, he would encourage peacability amongst them.

3.) If there is a tendency then, amongst God's people to be more contentious than they "ought" then it must be also granted that they are having to over-come more Spiritual difficulty than say.... a peacable Hari-Krishna who is handing out flowers at an airport.

 

This may seem like a list of excuses, and, in a way it is.  But I think it is worthy of consideration for possible reasons why that may be the experience of some.  However, the most important thing to consider is this:

Even if there is a greater tendency towards contentiousness amongst professed Bible-Believers....it is faulty to then assume that this invalidates the Bible's truth-claims.  If indeed the Scriptures are 100% correct, then, when one comes across overly contentious people who CLAIM to be God's disciples than the correct conclusion is NOT that the Scriptures are false, but that they are indeed "CORRECT"!!! Namely this:

1.) There are and will by many who claim to be of the faith who aren't...(that's the conclusion John wants us to draw)

2.) Overt contentiousness is how you can "know" them :)

Very good bibical answers.  More harm is done by so-called Christians. No one knows our Heart except our Lord and Saviour.  Thank God, that its our personal relationship and we are not judged by what others may claim.  A pastor told me, "that I am just not sure Jack is saved"...you know what,? its not his to judge.  God loves Jack and Jack loves God.  We have to be careful at all times what we say, even pastors.

Look to Jesus for acceptance. The love of the Lord is perfect!


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