As a teacher, one of the biggest things we battle every year is bullying. Several times a year, we have meetings hoping to address it and lessen its occurrences. One of the biggest things we try to teach the students is that not standing up in support of the victim is a passive form of bullying. Though often without intention, it tells the victim that you also don’t care enough to stand up for them.
Sunday, I sat in church and listened to our youth pastor preach on wearing the armor of God. It was a great sermon that he managed to relate to Batman (you’d have to listen to it), but one thing he said really stood out to me. He said, “if you’re not working to further the kingdom, then you are working against it.
That sounds harsh, but I believe there are a lot of “Christians” who would fall into that category. I have myself at times in my journey. These are people who claim they know God, but their life doesn’t show it. They’re still willfully sinning as they did before knowing Christ or maybe they’re trying not to sin but they’re not sharing God’s love.
The more I thought about this, I think there are four types of Christians.
There are the Peters. Remember Peter who wanted to be close to Jesus but denied him when it counted? The other day, I watched “I Am Not Ashamed,” the Rachel Joy Scott story. Rachel Joy was one of the first victims of Columbine who was shot for her faith, but the first few shots didn’t kill her and according to one witness, she was asked if she still believed in God and shot in the head when she responded, “You know I do.” Rachel Joy Scott was no Peter.
Then there are the ones like Judas. These are the ones that say they are Christians, but their actions show a different picture. The Judas type gives Christianity a bad name, like the ones at Westboro Baptist Church. Yes, God called us to stand against the sins of the world but to do so with love and not with hate. When we react with hate, we make it that much harder for those who are not Judas types to do the actual job of winning souls because people make generalizations – we’ve seen that these last few weeks. “Oh, you must be one of those.”
Next, there are the Pauls. Paul was a complete convert. Before he came to Christ, he not only didn’t believe Christians, but he killed them. Then God got a hold of his life, and Paul made a complete 180. He began preaching, even when he got thrown in jail. Paul followed where Jesus told him to and worked hard to show God’s love but also how to live the right way.
Finally, there are the bystanders. The ones who go to church occasionally, but would never tell someone about Jesus. The ones who pick and choose what they want to follow out of the Bible. The ones who are more worried about their own “happiness” even if it causes them to sin than about being “righteous” when they stand before God. Sadly, this is where a lot of us fall today. We are too afraid to offend someone, so we don’t share the love of God. We are forced to walk the PC line, even though it makes us uncomfortable or goes against what we believe.
The question is though… If we are bystanders, if we aren’t furthering the kingdom, then are we working against it?