At some point, if we are going to call ourselves Christians, we are going to have to actually look and see if what we are saying and doing reflects Christ. Its funny how we have four books of the Bible that tell us all about Jesus and his disciples – and yet our methods of “discipleship” look NOTHING like what He said and did. Do we think we’ve got better ideas than Jesus?
Our culture of confrontation is an excellent example of this. Especially at Teen Mania, but even within evangelicalism in general, a huge part of our culture is confronting each other about issues big and small. Now to be sure, Jesus confronted both His disciples and the religious leaders of his day – but I’ll suggest that what we do today bears little resemblance to that.
At Teen Mania, interns are encouraged to confront each other even about things that are NOT sins: personality differences or flaws, the way you dress, the way you eat, all of your relationships, the way you spend your time, the books you read, how much you sleep, etc. Really, there is nothing that is off limits.
It’s beyond arrogant. And it’s not remotely Scriptural. You can’t love someone and sit in judgment over them at the same time.
Have you ever noticed how many “one another” sayings there are in the New Testament? They talk about how we are to treat one another. Here are just a few:
Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another (about disputable matters). Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way. Romans 14:13
Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. Romans 15:7
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Ephesians 4:2
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Eph. 4:32
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. I Thess. 5:11
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. Col. 3:16
But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. Heb. 3:13
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Heb. 10:24
Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart. I Peter 1:22
How do these Scriptures about accepting one another, bearing with one another, loving one another and not judging one another jive with the constant scrutiny and confrontation at the Honor Academy?
The simple answer is, they don’t.
The level of confrontation at the Honor Academy is exhausting – not encouraging. I don’t see anywhere in Jesus’ relationship with His disciples or in Paul’s interaction with the church where they nitpicked on every little thing someone does. Instead, Jesus showed us that God accepts us as we are, He runs to us when we sin – He accepts us and makes us part of His family. He is not sitting over our shoulder ready to criticize us for every little thing we do wrong. So why do we think that treating each other with continual judgment is the Christian thing to do?
Of course, I’m not advocating a total abandonment of confrontation and looking out for each other. As I stated above, both Jesus and Paul engaged in confrontation. However, it was always about serious issues – generally about someone’s understanding of the Gospel. Instead, we’ve got it backwards. We let the serious issues of legalism and injustice go in favor of confronting people over whether or not they completed an one hour quiet time each day, or whether they talked to a mamber of the opposite sex that they have a crush on, or if they were eating with their elbows on the table. Give me a break. That’s about as far from real Christianity as you can get.