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When Did Christians Become So Mean?

By March 18, 2014April 22nd, 2014Christians, Culture, Encouragement

Okay, this one will get me into trouble. Especially if the shoe fits. Wait for the comments on this one.

But I have to ask…

When did Christians become so mean?

Not all Christians. Most Christians I know are nice. Very nice.

But, I’ve met some mean ones lately.

Now, let me be clear. I am one. A Christian that is. (Hopefully not mean — too often.) In fact, I’ve centered my life around my faith and even am vocationally supported by Christians. (So I love you! I really do.)

But, when did some of you — my brothers and sisters in Christ as we are often referred to — become so mean?

It’s mostly online. You write something they don’t agree with, and instead of a healthy disagreement, they blast you. Right there on your Facebook wall or with a hurting comment on a blog post. Where everyone can read it. In fact, some people read it even before the one who wrote the post reads it. I’ve even had guest bloggers tell me they don’t want to post anymore because of the comments.

I understand that. My blogs are reposted on different websites — with more widespread readers than I have — and I don’t read the comments much, because when I do — I’m tempted to tell them I don’t want to post there anymore. Mean people commenting — calling themselves Christians. I don’t want to play that game either. Who has time for that?

It’s not that they don’t have valid points. Many times they do, but the way they make their point doesn’t come across very Christ-like. Actually rather mean.

I get that it’s cultural now. We’ve become transparent. Honest. Blunt. But — just being honest — sometimes that comes across as mean.

I can’t imagine how those outside the faith view the way we often treat each other.

I wrote a post about Christians behaving online. It wasn’t just because I didn’t have anything else to write about. It’s because some Christians have become mean. Online. For everyone to see.

The Internet has made it so much easier — and faster — to be mean if you choose to be mean. Even anonymously if you want.

But, I’ve seen it in public too.

Why just last week — I saw a Bible study group meeting at a local coffee shop. I didn’t know any of them. I was minding my own business, but it was obvious what they were doing discussing the Bible. They had Bibles. 🙂

I loved it.

Then one of them became a real jerk to the girl that messed up his order.

Mean. Right there in front of his Bible study friends, me, and all the other coffee shop patrons — many who may not have been Christians. And, probably aren’t anymore motivated to be one now.

I was embarrassed.

I’ve had some restaurant people tell me the “church hour” — after the churches finish on Sunday — is one of the hardest hours of their week. Really? That’s sad. I would hope it’d be the opposite.

How’s that for having the mind of Christ? Or being witnesses? Or considering others better than ourselves?

Whenever I’ve asked, well over three fourths of my blog readers identify themselves as believers. So, if you’re in the one fourth who don’t claim Christianity, this post isn’t for you. Sorry about that, but today I’m only addressing the “family”. We call ourselves brothers and sisters. In love, we sometimes gently rebuke one another. That’s what families do.

So, brothers and sisters. Quit being mean.

Consider what you say and the way you say it before you ever say it.

That sounds logical. Biblical. A good discipline even.

Because I can fall into a culture that thinks more about myself than others too. You can too. We all can. We can value our opinion, consider others without our opinion wrong, and talk to people who we know are wrong like they are less human because of it. Sometimes we treat members of our family — people we love — worse than we treat a stranger. I get that.

But, when we are mean it flies in the face of what Christians are taught to do — in the Bible we claim as our guide. And, it’s the kindness of God that leads to repentance. To my knowledge, no one ever comes to faith through meanness. Or watching someone be mean to others.

In fact, there is no “meanness” of God. God is love — even when He’s sharing truth.

And, we are to be like Him. At least becoming more like Him.

So this is an encouragement. A simple, striving to be nice, non-mean intended, encouragement.

Let’s clean up our act. Or, to put it in my Christian like terms — let’s let Jesus clean up our act. Let’s be more like our Savior. The One by whom we are called Christians. Christ.

Let’s set an example for others. Not be so mean. Actually be nicer. A kinder, gentler breed of Christians. Let’s learn how to disagree with one another the right way. Full of grace and truth. Let’s love one another. And, demonstrate the peace of Christ to those who are seeking peace.

If they can’t find kindness, forgiveness, love in us — where will they find it?

“A kind man benefits himself, but a cruel man brings disaster on himself.” Proverbs 11:17

Now read 12 Ways Christians Can Be Less Mean Online.

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Ron Edmondson

Author Ron Edmondson

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Join the discussion 91 Comments

  • Sandra says:

    I am living with a "Christian" who asked me to move in (to be a blessing to each other is what she said) and then asked me to move out a month and 1/2 later with no further explanation or reason why or concern for my welfare while reading her bible (which I found to be a little crazy and funny). She hasn't even asked or given me "encouragement" as a Christian should while going through my trials although she expected me to listen to her problems. I have the "discernment of spirit" fortunately (which is what she claim she has also) and had already planned to leave according to God's will for me after going to him in meditation and prayer, from other behaviors that I observed from her that were not in my opinion Christian like but I actually believe it was simply because I would not act like her……the "Christian" way. I absolutely was not doing anything to disrespect her or her home and paid her a lot. I have a relationship with God and pray everyday and shouldn't be judged because I don't attend services. So this behavior to me was being a "mean" Christian.

  • Morgan says:

    and a Christian does not need to agree with a point of view but they can accept the person as a person who has the right to believe what they are compelled to believe and the same holds true to the non-Christian, it will not hurt you to respect a believer by keeping your opinions to yourself. Many times a Christian will speak to me in religious terms where I simply cannot accept what they are saying but what good is it if I voice my opinion just so I can attempt to have the last word, it doesn't. The next time you are tempted to inject a bit of meanness try and reason with yourself before speaking, I have always believed this one truth and I know it to be true, sometimes the things you say to someone may just seem very simple and insignificant to you, something to be forgotten… but it might just be something a person will carry with them for life, maybe a kind word spoken today will make a huge difference in a persons life, it will be something you will never remember you said but to that person it just might be something they will never forget.

  • Morgan says:

    You asked… When did Christians become so mean, well as someone who has been on both sides I believe Christian folk are no different then non-Christian folk since meanness or the lack of it is not rooted by some faith based or natural based idea of thought. I do believe the political climate we currently live in as well as the generation of folks who make up the general population are to blame for this shift in the way both Christian and non-Christian folk people generally conduct themselves. We are a meaner society so it effects all folks, we have allowed ourselves to align with one side apposed to all sides. I no longer associate myself as a Christian but I try to align myself with all folks for the common good, I try very hard to not let my personal beliefs interfere with my interactions to others, most times I succeed but sometimes I fail but I accept and own my failures and try harder not to in the future but unfortunately many Christians (not all) have a much harder time in doing so because they feel their Christian beliefs prevent them to do so and cannot accept someone's point of view even if it means to just remain

  • Jim Crump says:

    Not trying to be harsh, but not all people claiming to be Christian are real Christians…..

  • Dale Westervelt says:

    Thanks so much for this Ron! I truly had the same thought last night as I went to bed, and woke up to receive an email notice of your "12 Ways…" post. Yesterday I read a series of responses to the news of the falling of a high-profile pastor. One of the commenters made repeated and hateful hacks, one of which was, "He denied sanctification!" The regrettable irony is that the commenter belied the progressive view of sanctification they were supposedly defending. It's the view that says that Christians become more holy and less sinful through obedience. No matter how many verses seem to imply that this is our aim, it simply breaks down in reality. Where do we wee this holiness inside or outside the church? You are so right to say that unbelievers would have every right to think badly about Christians and Christianity. (This is what Barna's data actually showed.) Thanks so very much. I will share this widely on my social media outposts. Best to you!

  • April Dufresne says:

    I was part of a “Christian” Facebook page that had to do with prophecy. One day I commented on a post and questioned what the author was stating. I did it kindly and even said that I could be wrong. Their response, was not only unchristian, but downright hateful! I wasn’t the only one that they did it to. They called people names, accused them of being fake Christians, & would even go so far as to block you if you disagreed with them. When I finally called them out on it, stating that as Christians, we were called to a higher standard, I was told that it was their duty as Christians to inform others when they were wrong, told me that I was ignorant, & then blocked me from their site. I have to say that I was shocked, & honestly, appalled. I hope that those who claim to be followers of Christ, will read this and take it to heart! Thanks for posting!

  • lex6819 says:

    A couple of years ago, I once visited a small, UMC church, founded in the 50s/60s, and largely still populated by the same founding members (and a lesser percentage of their children and grandchildren). As a visitor, I didn't bring anything for the offering plate. As I passed the plate along to the next person sitting next to me, and old man who was sitting in the pew behind me, jabbed me in the shoulder with his bony finger and said something I didn't quite make out, but I was absolutely FLOORED that someone would be so rude in church! And violating my personal space to boot. Really, if a woman doesn't extend her hand for you to shake it, your fingers should be NOWHERE on her person! I was really shocked by his behavior. I looked around at him, and his wife just sat there smiling to herself as if nothing had happened. I wanted to just say to her "did you just see what your husband did to me???" But, I didn't want to cause a scene in church, so I just let it go. I'm in my 40s, but I look pretty young for my age. Maybe he thought he was castigating a teenager? That's the best case scenario, and I don't really buy it. I have since restricted my attendance at that church to just Easter and Christmas, as I really don't want to experience another upsetting incident with another loose-cannon obnoxious person who apparently has no manners!

  • Ivan Solero says:

    I enjoyed the article. However, there is a significant issue about being mean and being a believer. I totally agree with the context that you (us) should be encouraging and positive as in Christ. In fact, if we are so called "In Christ" its hard not to be positive and encouraging in showing the fullness of His Spirit in our lives. This is especially true around non-believers, in that we should pause and welcome whatever communications come our way. My issue surrounds the "Shiny Happy Christian" narrative. This may be cultural and/or it may be lazy, but real dialogue and connection comes from risk taking to engage and communicate honestly to other like believers. The idea to brush off real dialogue with certain key belirver phrases like "I'll pray for you", "God bless you", and "and this verse says…." is so ingrained in our communication that it is hard to gauge the genuineness of the comment/individual. It is also a lazy way to buttress further discussion/engagement because it hard to move past these innotations that are supposedly God fed. The churches have a need to nourish its family, not give catchy phraseology that falls inline with christian speak, it needs to be and I'm sorry to say "unchurch like" because being in church is a lot like being in a club. Risk taking is low, phraseology is high, appearance is high. It becomes the "shiny happy christian" narrative that can be seen and heard gobbled out by the dozens. Social media cuts through a lot of this (rightly so) for good and bad. I believe there is a place to have real honest dialogue without the self righteousness (which is a huge problem) that is direct, on point, honest and real. I personally was taken to task on social media when someone wrote that he was a youth pastor and that he was dating a 16 year old and she wanting to get closer (maybe to have sex) and he was taking upon himself to lead her the right way but he was struggling on what to do next? After 15 or so responses of "well that's a tough one I'll pray for you", "this verse suggests and I'll pray for you" and "hang in there its tough I'll pray for you" with no calling out the issue, I blasted him and the rest of the responders. I went for him because of his spiritual leadership position (suggesting he step down and also reminding him of statutory rape of minor) and the other responders for not stepping up but giving "shiny happy christian" speak. They pretty much responded that I was out of line, that I need to be encouraging and that I was not being loving. Was I mean? I guess in some eyes I was, but do I (we) owe that to others or do we look towards God in what we do? Being mean is arbitrary, it depends on the giver and the receiver. It depends on motive and attitude and it depends in being "in Christ" or not. I don't buy "shiny happy christian" speak, not do I buy churches that turn to clubs. What I need to be is accountable especially when we all face Him in heaven. Being real and honest is the first step.

    • martha says:

      I am so late to this discussion, which I found by accident. This is a good post. Another point I would make as a non-Christian is that when someone says they will pray for me it often comes of as snarky. Or, like saying: "I don't want to do anything for you that will put me out, costing me time or money, but I don't want to look like a jerk I'll say that I'll pray for you."

      As a non-Christian I am not impressed. And, I often think the Christian is lying anyway. I bet most of the time they don't even pray for me.

  • Rainbird says:

    A big issue I've noticed, is if you call someone out publicly for their public harassment of others (and sadly, Christian leaders are not immune to this), if it's on Twitter or Facebook, they simply block you rather than either consider the criticism, or talk to you about it. Perhaps if you haven't already done so, you could write another article entitled "You're doing it wrong", and discuss the Biblical way to handle criticism, rather than just blocking people if they are pointing out genuine issues that are not edifying to the Body, or helpful to the cause of the Gospel.

  • Rainbird says:

    I tweeted this article to JD Hall @PulpitandPen on twitter and he blocked me. I was only trying to be helpful!!!!

  • Anonymous

    This goes along with the sermon I heard yesterday from Romans 15:5-6. "May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus. Then all of you can join together with one voice, giving praise and glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ."

  • Stuart says:

    I've often joked about the fact that there are nasty people in the world but the real nasty & vindictive ones appear to be in church and say they are followers of Christ.

    An example I vividly recall (you'll see why in a second) is some 25 or so years ago I wasn't quite as svelte as I'd like (still not but that's another issue with which I'm comfortable) and it truly takes a christian to deliver a cutting remark instead of grace. Anyway a young chap, new to the church, was sat behind me one day as I wa plying my then role of doing the OHP's and the pastor said something. Next thing I know, said young chap is poking me in the back and said "he means you fatty".

    Skip forward 15yrs and that same young lad is now pastor of my church and has been for 10yrs. Thankfully he's changed since then 🙂

  • linda marie says:

    Maybe if we didn’t feel an urge to be “right” all the time… maybe if we cared what was going on in another person’s life or were interested in what they believed…

    Nah. That would take way too much time… 🙁

  • brian meyer says:

    I was actually typing in "Why are Christians so" and the autocomplete suggested 'mean'. Must be a lot of folks searching for that answer.

  • Al Ferrari says:

    I went to a Bible study at a church I never visited before. I went with my trusty Old Scofield and was told by the pastor "I'M REFORMD THEOLOGY!" i.e "Get outa here punk" I never want to hear "reformed" as long as I live!

  • Scott says:

    This is some what a bit of selfrighteous mumbo jumbo…who are you talking about? People who go to church? Or believers? Telling the difference between the two is like trying to separate the sheep from the goats. Believers are just people with an old and new capacity, the one you feed will be preeminent. Jesus was consumer unfriendly wasn't He? And isn't that why Scipture is filled with commands to love on another, be kind and so on? I think the lost just love to judge so-called Christians for uncomely behavior. Scripturally speaking what about the mean behavior of David, Moses, Lot, Noah, Solomon, John Mark, and a myriad of others? It comes with the territory of being human. So I would just get used to it.

  • Gray Cat says:

    The manager of a local (national chain) store is no longer there, summarily let go after decades of service. He was Dr. Jekyll / Mr. Hyde, bragging about how great his church was, faithfully warming a pew every Sunday…but in "his" store he treated most associates as if they were toilets seats. He never gave an encouraging word…countless times from my vantage point I saw faces crumple in dismay as he spoke to staffers. I gave him a lovely devo on encouragement as subtly as I was able a few months earlier; it missed his heart and went over his head. One staffer needed a leave of absence after he was gone….he had "tormented" this person. He made many many non-Christian staffers distrust Christians in general, while believer-employees winced…and prayed. If I were to run into him, I would sadly smile and say the two words of the devotional title: "Good job!" What JESUS tells him is another story…

  • Runningtherace says:

    Well done. I like to remind myself of what would Jesus’s response be if he were to see me speaking or writing to someone else. Sadly the internet seems to have given a lot of people both Christians and those who don’t yet know The Lord an opportunity for their five minutes of fame and celebrity and it has brought out the very worst in the human spirit.

  • Ric says:

    Well put! Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength! And love your neighbor as yourself!

  • Kevin says:

    It all comes down to the heart. If its full of Jesus, there is no room for mean. 🙂

  • Greg says:

    Sad to say but I believe being mean as a Christian is a direct bi-product of the typical American church. Jesus told us to "go make disciples… and teach them to obey everything I have commanded you". I believe most American churches stop short of teaching to obey Jesus and instead focus on teaching about Jesus. In fact, I don't believe you can really teach to obey from the pulpit. The learning to obey comes only through accountability which most churches don't provide. Sadly, and as a side note, our pastors tend to have the least amount of accountability in their lives.

    So when we teach about Jesus, but not to obey Jesus, we have the knowledge side of the coin (a necessary but insufficient part of the the picture). Paul tells us that knowledge puffs up but love builds up. So what do you have when you puff people up in church? You have mean, self centered, holier than thou "Christians". Christian only in name, not in character.

    So when our churches begin to learn to add accountability (in a loving, not mean spirited way!) to their teaching then I think we will begin to see a different witness in our communities and something non-believers can be inspired to move toward and not be repelled from.

    • ronedmondson says:

      Strong word. Thank you. 

    • Patricia says:

      So, what do you mean in a loving, not mean spirited way? Because I am finding that most Christians don't want accountability AT ALL! No matter HOW you talk to them they don't accept it and get very angry. Try talking to someone about their children's bad behaviour, rudeness, or disrespect. Be prepared to be put in your place! Jesus was most often very direct one on one. He didn't have time to mince words. He only had a little over 3 years to teach. Paul confronted the Corinthians in no uncertain terms in his letter. Think what James had to say! Most Christians don't even want to touch that book! How many do you know who are memorizing more than "If any one lacks faith….."?I am not talking about storming in and pulling out a sword and cutting off their heads! But don't buy into the American psychology garbage! Frankly, I don't see Jesus standing there rubbing someone's back or holding their hands while scrunching up His eyebrows, wagging his head, looking like He is going to cry, and saying, "Oh honey, this is so hard, but you know, I am so sorry I have to say this, I really don't want to….." When things really start to go down the toilet in this country we will not be ready to stand for Christ because we don't want to obey Him in the hard things. Loving one another is not easy. It is very hard to love well enough to confront, because those who do not want accountability have a haughty proud spirit and are steeped in error and need to be snatched from the fire. They need to be confronted and saved as Jude says. If you are a Christian you will love the church and desire her purity, holiness, obedience, and love for one another.

      • CallingItLikeItIs says:

        @Patricia, you and people like you are the very reason I left the church and will never go back.

  • Victoria says:

    My pastor would be shocked at how rude certain Christians are right in our church building on a Sunday morning.

  • Vanessa says:

    "For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks" Matthew 12:34. Or in the case of 'meaness' online "… the fingers type!"
    I have grave concerns about the way the faith is portrayed, not just by individuals but sometimes organisations and even churches! There seems to be an ever increasing 'worldliness' creeping in and it's rather scary. If I didn't already have a strong personal relationship with The Lord, I would be quite firmly put off by the behaviour of some of us 'Christians'. So much so that I try not to wear that particular label! If people ask, then I tell them I believe in and (try hard!) follow Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour. From there on in there is potential ground to plant the seed of hope ready for the Father to water and nuture.
    Keep writing from the heart and God bless you.

  • Too many people who call themselves Christians are not using the moral discernment of Jesus in their daily words and deeds. Thus, your call for kindness stands tall and I agree wholeheartedly. Nevertheless, with zero disagreement with your main thrust, I see a need for balance. For instance, it seems a bit unfair (perhaps even mean) to promote the stereotype that the “church hour” after churches finish on Sunday, is one of the hardest hours of the week for restaurant workers. It’s a group stereotype with a measure of truth, no doubt, but we would NEVER stereotype a race with a blanket of presumption like that without offering any evidence. I see highly positive interactions during that hour.
    Meaningless meanness is unchristian to the core. But meaningless ANYTHING is unchristian. Context is important. Being called “mean” is a shoe that may fit some “Christians” but not all. In some cases Christians may seem “mean” because we are seeing too many children intentionally corrupted, exploited, deceived and damaged in this culture all around us with little effective resistance from decent people. Jesus could have been called “mean” when he said, “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe to stumble, it would be better for him if, with a heavy millstone hung around his neck, he had been cast into the sea.” (Mark 8:41) I see love in Jesus’ stern warning to those who would corrupt or hurt children.
    Our children’s hearts are being boiled by Internet pornography, their brains fried by endless attention to raunchy and violent video games. Look at how pre-teen girls are dressing. Activist anti-family cirriculums flood our public schools. Public school curriculums are using public money to indoctrinate and recruit children beginning in Kindergarten in various sexuality agendas, providing books that promote cross-dressing, homosexual “love” and much more. And Christians are called "haters" if we point it out. Also, 41% of babies born in America are born out of wedlock and many more end up losing a parent to a divorce, thus causing the majority of children to not have the benefit of a mom and a dad in the home. And the only stigma left is the stigma on Christians to even menation this as a problem. In today’s child-unfriendly world, government officials have officially forced schools to allow kids to choose their own gender and use bathrooms without regard to the safety and comfort of boys and girls who need their privacy. Confusing children sexually is a mission shared by our schools, our entertainment media, our mainstream media and our political and social culture. Entertainers use unusual crudeness and indecency to appeal to and corrupt the immature. Manipulating of little minds is what the homosexual revolution is about.
    Our culture mocks purity, celebrates profanity and wallows in vulgarity. We are decomposing marriage and demonizing those who want it protected. And yet it’s Christians who get called “mean.” Something is wrong with this picture.
    Your call for kindness stands. But what bothers me as much as cruelty is seeing so many who call themselves Christians who seem fully content with letting the culture corrupt our children with almost no opposition.

    • ronedmondson says:

      Good thoughts to add to the discussion. Sobering. Thank you. 

      • Jorge says:

        Really? You think that utter garbage adds anything positive to any discussion? If you agree with that bigoted you are a perfect example of why people are leaving the church in droves.

    • Brandon Gebhart says:

      I have to disagree with your comment that Ron is promoting a stereotype when he told about the "church hour" being the hardest time. It was not a blanket statement. Ron wrote that some restaurant people told him that. These are the people who have experienced it. It may not happen everywhere, but when even one person tells you something like that, then we should all be sadden. Just as when even just one person repents, all of heaven rejoices, but when even one turns away from God, all of heaven is sadden.

      • ronedmondson says:

        Thank you. This is exactly correct.

        • Patricia says:

          But, I think you need to remember that most people who go to church aren't Christians. There has been no repentance. The pews are filled with tares because we want them there. Instead of pastors equipping the saints on Sunday mornings as he is supposed to do (read how an unbeliever coming into a worship service was a rare happening in Corinthians) we are filling the pews with those who want their ears tickled. And boy! are we tickling! Then you have all the unrepentant, fresh from their Sunday morning entertainment center, rushing to restaurants cause they are starving! And what a show they put on! I am not saying that there aren't rude Christians, but surely someone who is a Christian at the table or nearby can subtly let that person know they are bringing shame to the name of Christ? And if they don't–then shame on them.

    • martha says:

      You have the right to your beliefs. You can state them as strongly as you desire. But, you do not have the right to force me to follow your beliefs. You also do not have the right to make up facts. Fact is, people are not "made" gay by some kind of recruitment program.

      My guess is that people who disagree with you don't care if you are mean or nice about it. We only care if you try to force your beliefs on us. We only care if you try and change what is a secular nation into one where one subset of Christians get to run the show for the non-Christians or even for the Christians who hold egalitarian values.

    • Jorge says:

      You are an absolutely reprehensible person. You are a bigot and a disgrace to both Christianity and humanity. I pity you.

  • @drewdsnider says:

    I found that recently in a group of ministers I joined on LinkedIn. Someone had started a discussion on a particular topic, and someone disagreed. At first, the "debate" had some Scriptural basis, but it didn't take long before someone dropped the "ph"-bomb — "Pharisee" — and the ad hominems started flying. It became a battle of "who's right" and not "what's right".

    But while being honest, blunt and transparent is a sign of the times, there's something else to consider: Do Christians have the right to freedom of speech?

    Certainly, the US Constitution (and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms) guarantees that right, but when we receive Christ, we actually surrender that right to God. We are to be Christ's ambassadors, which really means, when we speak our minds, we're speaking the mind of Christ — not the mind we were born with.

    As Jerry Savelle once said, "if you can't speak the Word of God, shut up!"

    So you have to ask, "How would Jesus have responded to a messed-up order at Starbucks?"

  • kmac4him

    Awesome! Thank you! Kindness has been lost in the shuffle of "do it all" Christians. Pretty much because of all our "religious activities", we have lost time for the relationship with Jesus, that precious, precious heart to heart connection that cleanses us of all things not right in our lives and puts on the Love of God. In our busy, busy, busy Christian Culturalism, where more to "do" has become better than just "being", we trump our relationship with religiosity and we become plain "mean"! We are trying so hard to keep up and be "valuable" to God, we forget where the true value lies. Overly busy people are "cranky"! We need to be called to God 1st and be Christian!

    Quote By Brian Hardin At Daily Audio Bible:
    "It is interesting how really good things can take you over, so you are overrun by activity, good activity, this frantic activity is a replacement in our lives for relationship. Culture says the more we can get done, the more valuable we are. This is not to say things don't need to get done, yet, God is not interested in any of our good activity if it is replacing our relationship with Him." Brian Hardin

  • Greg Simmons says:

    Glad to see you bringing this up. I've joked with my Christian friends that there is mean and then there's church people mean. Some have taken offense while many others have winced and agreed that sadly it is way too true. A couple years ago, my wife and I helped lead middle schoolers. Near Halloween we sponsored a project we called "Tip and Treat". Our students made up bags that had a can of soda, a bag of microwave popcorn and a $5 gift card from Walmart. There was a tag on the bag too which I'll mention in a sec. Church members were to take a bag and not let their server see it. After the meal, in ADDITION to the tip, they would leave the bag secretly. The note on the bag told the server "Thank You" and apologized for how church people act on Sunday. It also said that the bag was a special gift for them to go toward a movie night where they could put their feet up and relax. We acknowledged that while Christians weren't the best at times, God was…and provided a link to a special website where they could leave a comment or ask anything they wanted. The kids loved the project and it was cool to see how others embraced the idea.

    • Patricia says:

      That's terrible! Now you are tearing your own family down to unbelievers! "They will know you by the love you have, one for another". Geesh!

      • Greg Simmons says:

        @Patricia – if you go back and re-read, I wrote "I've joked with my Christian friends…" In all good humor and sarcasm, there is some truth. Sadly, the concept of "church-people mean" is true in way too many cases.
        Now, if you were referring to our "Tip or Treat" project, then obviously you have not worked in the food service industry. If you ask most wait staff, they will tell you that the Sunday church crowd is one they dread. In general, they are rude and tip VERY poorly, if at all. The responses we got from that project were quite enlightening and confirmed that we did the right thing.

        Love isn't always rainbows and unicorns and hugs over hot chocolate. Sometimes love is messy, dirty and ugly as we deal with characteristics or qualities in ourselves or those we love that need to change. Sometimes we have to apologize for our friends or family that think they are "all that and a bag of chips" when in reality, they think too highly of themselves and too lowly of those around them.

        • Patricia says:

          I spent 20 years in the food industry doing everything from washing dishes to managing semi-fine dining.(many of those years were spent waiting tables). I never once heard people complain about church goers. Rather, there were many who wanted to work Sunday lunch because so many came that they made a lot of money! You don't need to apologize for anyone else.I don't see that as a biblical perspective. Maybe what you need to do is confront the family member. I confronted a 17 year old about some very rude behaviour at church last week. Her mother was quite upset with me. My husband said, "Do you know what would have happened if I had gone to my mother and told her someone at church corrected me?" She sure wouldn't have been mad at the person doing the correcting! Believe me, I do not believe all is rainbows and unicorns. I have been accused of exactly what this article is about. I speak the truth. The truth is we ARE sinners. The truth is "the heart is deceitful and desperately wicked above all things. There is none does good, not even one." We are to "speak the truth" to one another. And it hurts. BUT Scripture also tells us, "Faithful are the wounds of a friend". And, "there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother." Too many Christians have an idea that love is a gooey thing, a cheerleading idea. When you look at the rich young ruler who Jesus loves–right in front of everyone He confronted him. The Christian life IS a very serious and sober thing. And we as Americans want nothing more to joke about everything. I love laughing too. I loved life as well. But I wonder if we are really ready for persecution. Because it is coming. Most American Christians will fall to pieces when it comes because they can't understand what really loving one another means outside of rainbows and unicorns.

          • Greg Simmons says:

            Obviously our experiences are and have been different. That being said, this is one point where we disagree. The connection opportunities from this project were excellent and we plan on doing it again.

            And yes, I can and will apologize for the way others act. Simply confronting them doesn't always address the issue. There is nothing wrong with me apologizing to someone for the way someone from a group I'm categorized with has acted. I cannot force every nutjob "Christian" to apologize for their behavior. But, I can let someone know that "no, not everyone acts or believes the way you've been treated."

  • Bette Hamby says:

    Well said. I work in the real estate industry and see this many times. It makes me cringe. Just being blasted by someone that drives away with a “fish” on their car or business card. I will apply your post to my life as well as a reminder that Christ-like kindness can be applied in all situations. Thank you for your post.

  • Mike says:

    The title should actually be 'why are a small percentage of Christians so mean' since the opening line says ''Most Christians I know are nice." The real answer to the title question is 'there have always been mean and rude Christians.' It's just they didn't used to be so connected via the internet – it was localized 'meanness'. Even now, they think they're having a one-on-one conversation instead of a public event. And half the time, the other just called their theology irrelevant. Didn't Ahab call Elijah a "troubler" for speaking inconvenient truths?

    • ronedmondson says:

      You're being nice, right?  The title was intentional. Thanks for the opinion but I'd rather attract readers because I think it's a helpful post. Yes, I think it cyclical, but we re in a more vocally “mean” cycle and the Internet is helping. I don't believe 20 years ago people were as rude to retailers, for example, as they are today. I was in retail for almost 20 years and was just comparing notes with someone who continued in retail after I left. There has been a cultural shift. Thanks.  God bless. 

  • Bud Brown says:

    It grieves me. But I look in the mirror and see myself at times.

    Are we "Christians" in these moments?

    Positionally, of course, we are. But we're not allowing the Life within to show through in these moments.

    Lord, protect others from us!

  • Matt P says:

    I read about this website in the Tennessean – it deals with how Christians treat people in the service industry – started by a pastor – I was saddened by the stories I read – your story about the coffee shop Bible study incident sounds like it could get posted there:

  • Joerg says:

    Hey Ron,

    funny you write about this topic – it’s exactly this very same day I wrote up my thoughts on my blig (in German) about a so-called authenticity seemingly trumping love as the no 1 Christian virtue. Which is running completely counter-Jesus, of course. Social Media seems to have made it worse.

    So, I couldn’t agree more. And thanks for your work, I learn a lot fron it and sometimes quote and reference your blog when I share about my own reflections and experience concerning leadership issues.


  • David says:

    Ron, thank you. Sobering, I continue to grow in this area. I appreciate you.

  • Deanna says:

    Thank you for writing this. As both a believer and someone who worked as a waitress for 20+ years I can say your post is right on target.

  • I have made the effort (with God's help) to change in this area, and to also encourage others to do the same, especially when it comes to posting on our Facebook pages. I have made the mistake of public rants. Learned some lessons from that which I won't forget. (Lord help me never forget!)

    Thanks for sharing this awesome article, Ron.

    ~Donna Marie Johnson, The Love Infused Marketing and Graphics Strategist

  • BushMaid says:

    Oh, this. Exactly. I’ve been learning more and more that Christians should not be defined by their perfect correctness, but by love.

    “I believe God is preparing a generation who are content at the end of the day with love and obedience. And our success when we stand before the Father won’t be how big the stadiums were we filled, it won’t be how many notches on our belt, it won’t be any of those things. He’ll look at us and He’ll go, ‘I’m so proud of you, you learned to love. And I’m so proud that you equated ‘success’ with ‘obedience’.’ And He’ll do the rest. He’s going to release this global harvest, but He’s not asking us to strong-arm it with human ambition. He’s asking us to love well, and to obey thoroughly with great joy in our hearts.”

    — Andy Byrd

  • My husband and I were just talking yesterday about Jesus’ kindness to the Samarian woman – a woman who was treated very poorly by others around Him.

    • ronedmondson says:

      Amen. Great application.

    • Patricia says:

      You do realize that Jesus brought her sin right up into her face? Alot of people wouldn't like that, no matter how you said it. Jesus would have dinner at houses and tell the host in front of everyone his failings. Some people wouldn't like that. Would you? We are all told not to embarrass anyone in front of anyone else. Heaven forbid if you correct someone else's children in church!!! When I became a Christian in 1976 children didn't color in church, there wasn't "children's church", they didn't sit with their shoes off and their feet on the chair in front of them. The girls didn't dress in short shorts and spaghetti strap tops. Little girls didn't dance around the sanctuary. They didn't sigh loudly during the sermon and they had respect for prayer time. Most Christians have little control over their children anymore and allow them to wreak havoc before, during, and after church. And they allow them to do that everywhere because they have bought into psychology. We don't correct each other because we are afraid of hurting someone's feelings. I remember John Piper telling about a man he didn't know come up to him at the end of church and tell Pastor John that he-Pastor John- had a problem with pride! Pastor John told the man, "Thank you! I will make that a matter of prayer." And he meant it sincerely. This man saw something that Pastor John was unaware of. He didn't get mad, defensive, or embarrassed. And the man didn't beat about the bush when he talked with him either! May we all be willing to hear what others are saying. And may we all be willing to accept that in a humble spirit without wringing our hands over how someone just talked to us. They probably have a valid point! And no matter how they say it, you really aren't going to like it.

  • Randy Bayne says:

    Thanks Ron. I have watched over the years as people in general seem to be getting meaner by the day. It breaks my heart to see Christians adopting the meanness of the world and in may instances taking meanness to a whole new level. I am so thankful I accepted Christ before we turned so mean. I'm not sure I would find Christianity very inviting today. And that breaks my heart even more. This needed to be said, and I hope you keep saying it.

  • Nicole says:

    I completely agree. After waiting tables for a while, and getting scheduled to work a couple of Sundays, I can honestly say that the after church crowd is the WORST! Drunks were easier to deal with many times than fellow christians. Since then I've made it a point to be extra nice on Sunday and leave a much bigger tip. Just one nice person can make up for some of the other not so nice people. It's important that we remember to show God's love! Thanks for the post, you just blogged what I've been thinking lately 🙂

    • ronedmondson says:

      Thank you. God bless you. I agree. 

      • rob3yn says:

        not that you meant for this post to just focus on the 'church hour' group buttttttttttt 🙂 I used to wait tables (in my younger days) and we had a large church group come in on Wednesday nights. The staff used to draw straws to see who had to wait on them. They were incredibly demanding, demeaning and to add insult to injury they ordered very little and tipped nothing. I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that even though one bad apple doesn't spoil the rest, if you are going to publicly and often loudly express your opinions while openly displaying your association with a particular group, then you represent that group.

        • ronedmondson says:

          Yes, this is exactly what I'm talking about. So sorry about this. Thanks for sharing. Good reminder.