HampoLand

rainbow

Posts Tagged ‘Christians’

Are Christians Nice?

crossHuum. I know we are supposed be, but I keep running into folks who are devout Christians but they just aren’t very nice and that really throws me for a loop.

Nice sounds like such a wimpy,soft word, vacuous and lame but it’s a very important quality.

We all know what “nice” means but I looked it up just to be sure. Nice means “giving pleasure or joy.Kind, polite and friendly.”

We as Christians are supposed to be nice to everyone, not just people who are just like us.  I keep running into Christians who are not kind, friendly or polite to the boy at Sonic who is Goth and wears mascara.   They are not nice to the very effeminate, over weight boy who works at the Smoothie place. They are not friendly or kind to the woman in line at Walmart wearing the head scarf or the Hispanic man cutting their neighbors grass.

Parents and preachers, I think, need to teach the talented jocks, the beautiful mean girls and the cool kids that they are not acting like a Christian when they bully, taunt, tease and harass.

But some of the people, kids and adults, who are not kind, are still very quick to tell everyone they are Christians.

Here’s the thing. I believe God loves all those people previously mentioned, the Goth kid, the fat kid, the immigrant, the guy who just got out of prison, just as much as he loves you are me. And I think it breaks God’s heart when we are not “nice” to all of his children. Thankfully, God is not as picky about who he loves or we would all be in trouble.

Last week at WalMart the cashier was a 40 year old black man with a speech impediment.  He was slow and the lane was backing up because of his disability.  The woman in front of me, wearing a big silver cross, had to repeat something several times because he didn’t understand.  Then she looked at me, obviously annoyed, and rolled her eyes.  I wanted to punch her in the face.

Maybe she was a Christian but she was not a nice person.

But I think I have an idea.  Preachers, pastors and parents need to teach their children to be Christians and be nice. We need to stop assuming kids instantly understand being Christian means you are supposed to be nice, kind, friendly and polite….to everyone. We need to teach our children, from a very young age, that it is their duty, as a Christian, to be kind to teachers and hobos and waitresses, to those who serve the public and those of other races and beliefs,  to be kind to everyone, not just to people who are like us or we agree with. And we should do that because Jesus asked us to.

I know I fall short every day. I get mad at myself sometimes when I act ugly. There’s a guy  who works in a store I frequent. He drives me CRAZY, I mean really really bugs me. I just want him to stop talking and stay out of my space. But that’s my problem, not his fault and I have to remind myself that God loves him just as much as he loves me.

And when you see the goth kid, with the giant gauges in his ears, holes big enough to put a shot glass in, the big gold ring in his eyebrow and tattoos all over his body…..God loves that boy too, just as much as he love you.

When you see the kid with the tank top and jeans sagging down so low you can see his red checked boxers, running across the street, against the light. You might not agree with his fashion decisions but God loves that guy a whole lot too, just  as much as he loves you.

Christians are supposed to be “Christ Like”  and Jesus was nice.

But I will try every day to teach my kids to be nice to their family, to those they love and those they don’t understand. Because we are all God’s children. So teach it and be it….Be Nice.

 

 

Christian Bullies

teenchristianchristianchristianI’ve always promised my three oldest kids I wouldn’t write about this until they were out of high school.  I’ve wanted to because I think bringing a situation to light is the only way for things to improve.

This morning one of my daughters and I were talking about bullies at school and she casually joked, “We’ll it’s sure not the Christians who get bullied anymore, it’s so the other way around.”

I knew exactly what she was talking. She was never targeted but for more than ten years my three oldest came home from school several times, horrified how other students were being treated because their religious views didn’t line up with those of the big and popular local churches. Kids put notes on lockers that said stuff like “you’ll burn in  Hell for all of eternity,” they  put lengthy bible verses on cars and lockers followed with “so You Are going to Hell!” It got especially ugly for any student who didn’t condem all gay people or had pro-choice leanings.

Even though lots of the church teens partied just as hard or harder than others, that wasn’t the point.  If kids had different beliefes or thoughts they were ostricized, picked on and harrassed. Yeah, for several years we had a big ‘ol gang of hard core “Christian Bullies.” They were vicious, mean and self rightious. And I think it was mostly pretty girls. (I could be wrong there) I heard stories all the time and they broke my heart.

My heart didn’t’ break for thebullied  kids, most of them were pretty smart and resiliant so I figured they would be fine.  I felt bad for lots of the adults and leaders in the local churches, many I’ve known personally for years and they are lovely, wonderful, selfless Christians. I love them dearly and still do and I would swear, to this day, they have no idea how the message of the church and Christianity is being interruped by their pre-teens and teens.

What these “Christain bullies” didn’t seem to get (because they are young I suppose) is being mean, rude and cruel is a really bad and ineffective way to invite people to church. If you put ugly notes on my locker or whisper names as Iwalk by in the hall,  there’s not a chance in Hell I’ll want to be like you, go to your church, or hang with the kids you say are “Christian.” This is the worst form of Missionary work ever.

Self rightious bullies make kids who are raised by parents who didnt’ take them to church believe all Christians are mean and vindictive. As a result they never ever even want to try going to church.  That’s the real tragedy in this situation.

The actions of these teens turns kids against Christ, His work and His words.

The conduct of these “Christian Bullies” is so unlike that of Christ it’s almost laughable and a little pathetic.

My youngest son loves loves loves going to Wednesday youth group and church services at Millcreek Baptist Church. the Pastor there doesn’t realize it but I’m a big fan because he’s always so happy and loving and welcoming. I’ve listened to him give a eulogy for a man I loved with a drug ladden past and he was wonderful. 

But several years ago a group of 13 years old from that very same church cornered my oldest daughter, who was 12 or 13 and told her our entire family was going to Hell because were Episcopal and the Episcoapal church doesn’t automatically condem gays to Hell.  

When my daughter learned I was letting Sandor go to Millcreek on Wednesdays she was furious! She was convinced they would be mean and treat him horribly.

Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Adults, I guess it’s up to us to let our kids know how we expect them to act, how to be Christ-like and how to show God’s love to everyone. Even people who are different.

Persoanlly, I believe Christ wants us to love each other, to be kind, respectful and  lead by example. Show me the gates to the Kingdom of Heaven, I need all the help you can give me.  But please, don’t beat the snot out of me then expect me to want to walk in your footsteps.