In a world where Christians, in the name of holiness, arrogantly distance themselves from everything "secular"......and like the Pharisees, can't figure out what it means to be "in" the world but not "of" it........
In a world where Christians, in the name of holiness, arrogantly stand back and bash non-Christians for living like, well, non-Christians......
We need to check these actions and attitudes with the scriptures. I have a word I sometimes use to describe this type of activity. But I want to warn you, this could be bad. I only use this word in conversations where people know my heart and theological convictions. Posting it publicly like this could get me in trouble. I don't mean to be rash by using this word, but I honestly cannot think of one that better describes this type of activity by the very people that are supposed to be following the example of Christ.
Before I say the word, let me (very briefly) explain why I don't think the attitude toward non-Christians I explained at the top is appropriate. Paul clearly states that it's not the right of a Christian to judge outsiders - we are not they're judge, God is (1 Corinthians 5:12-13). We clearly cannot expect non-Christians to live in God-honoring ways. We are in a broken world. We don't have to publicly condemn their actions to prove they are wrong or to make sure we're not viewed as condoning them. In fact, Peter states that we are to simply continue doing good when others do wrong and by this alone their foolishness would be silenced (in other words, we don't need words). He says to treat everyone with respect and honor - even those that are unjust and to even honor an emperor that was killing Christians at the time (1Peter 2:13-18). We are told that this graciousness is being mindful of God (2:19). And, he points back to Christ as the example of these things in the verses that follow.
Instead of following this example, however, we have people publicly standing out against wrong with only words, picketing, arrogantly standing back.....not doing good and respectfully honoring all people, but instead speaking against them and their actions.
But what Paul and Peter are saying gives a completely different perspective of what Christ followers should be doing. It's very different than arrogantly separating from or publicly bashing everyone that is doing wrong or opposing God in their actions. Christians are doing both of these things in the name of "holiness." But they're not holy. They're actually (oh boy, here's the word) "ass-holy."
I told you. I don’t mean to be rash, but I honestly can't think of another word that better fits this attitude. Jesus did bash people.....but if you read the gospels it was the people that I described above that he spoke up against. I think we should take that into consideration before we outwardly and publicly bash non-Christians....in the name of holiness. Jesus treated these people very differently. He hung out with those "secular" people. He actually ate and reclined with them. He didn't arrogantly separate, nor did he flip their tables over. He lived among them and served them. He didn't have to constantly point out their wrongdoings. Yes, he confronted people in their sin. But it was with humble connection, not arrogant separation. He gave us an example of what it means to live in the name of holiness. I think we should get that straight and be careful of our ass-holy attitudes.
Oh, if we would actually follow Christ's example and actually be known for our holiness in our every day lives, in our humility, in our heart for people to be reconciled......