Why Am I The Bad Guy?

District Fellowship News

July, August 2009

I have finally realized it is all my fault. Well, not me personally, it’s not all my fault. It’s my people, my clan, my family, the ones I hang around with, the ones I think like. I have my part in that, and all together we are the bad guys. Who am I talking about? Who could be so full of all this hate, and mistrust, the evil, the bitterness; responsible for all the troubles of the world?

Followers of Christ.

That’s right. You knew who I was talking about all along. You’ve met me or people like me. The hate-mongers, the intolerant, the darkest evil in the world. Now, wait a minute, I don’t want you to get the wrong idea. Not everyone who says they are a Christian fits in this category. There are the nominal Christians who were born into a family that occasionally went to church. They have the name, but can’t be blamed for the way true followers of Christ act. There are the “love” Christians who haven’t ever gotten past today’s definition of love - let everyone do whatever they want. That’s love, man. They use the words but aren’t really part of the group. And then there are the social Christians who think that saving whales, or trees, or snail darters is the way to find God. They have the deeds but can’t be included here. None of these Christians are at fault. It’s me.

What have I done? What am I being blamed for?

Following Christ.

That’s right, I’m a bad guy because I follow Christ. I don’t just pretend to follow Christ, I don’t follow other (anti)christs, I actually try to live my life according to his principles and precepts. Well, that doesn’t seem so bad you say, what about following Christ would make you so heinous, so hated?

Well, it starts with the truth thing. I believe that there is absolute truth that comes from God not defined by man. In following Christ, I follow the truth. He himself said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” So I don’t make up my own truth, discover it inside myself, think that everything is truth. I follow Christ, the truth. I become the enemy of those who don’t follow Christ because there is no negotiation on those things which are true. There is only one way to heaven, not many ways. There is a place of eternal punishment. The choices you make now affect your eternal future. My belief in truth gets me onto the bad guy list.

And then there is love. Love should get me some nice guy points, right? No, because the love I am talking about mirrors the love of God, and God’s love is not the narcissistic, self-centered emotion that permeates our society. When the Bible talks of love, it speaks of servanthood, self-denial, and compassion.

That’s exactly what we are talking about, you say. We encourage everyone to do what they want. They should do what makes them happy, because we love them. We tolerate every kind of behavior because we care. We stop driving big cars because we are denying ourselves to save the world.

Sadly, there is very little love in there at all and much of it is misguided. Letting everyone do what they want is a fallacy in the first place, and unloving in the second. You can’t drive a car without a seat belt, you can’t eat transfats in restaurants in many cities, you can’t...the list of petty things could go on and on but I just mentioned a few items that seem to indicate everyone can’t do what they want. And changing societal norms like the definition of marriage, prohibition against certain behaviors, choosing death for other human beings is advocated in the name of tolerance and love. A loving God, who knows mankind better than we will ever know ourselves, laid out guidelines for man to live by, and throughout millennia many of those guidelines have been followed for our good. We are not loving someone by letting them destroy their lives now and for eternity so they can do what they want. So I speak the truth in love, and by my disagreement I am intolerant.

There I’ve said it, following Christ has made me intolerant in the eyes of those around me. But shouldn’t I be able to speak truth? The answer sadly is no, because God’s truth spoken in love, wrapped in compassionate acts, brings conviction to the hearts of those who do what they want. Conviction that they have not chosen correctly, not devoted themselves to the right cause, not followed Christ. To avoid that conviction, they must turn against the One who is a constant reminder, the ringing bell, and because I am a follower of the One, they turn on me. Jesus stated this effect clearly when he said, “When the world hates you, remember it hated me first...the people of the world will hate you because you belong to me, for they don’t know God who sent me.”

In the end, that seems like a pretty good reason to be the “bad guy”.