Stop Throwing People Away

There is something going on in church culture that I can’t stand. And it’s something I think we really need to change. And it is something we can change right now, in this moment.

It’s this.

We have a tendency to throw people away because they do or say or write one thing we don’t like.

One thing. A moment. A blog post. A book. A sermon. A prison stint. A bad habit. Or even something they didn’t do but we think they should have in a Monday morning quarterback kind of way.

Gone. That person is trash. I’m going to trash that person. For life. And hate them. For ever. I’m on Team Hate That Person for the rest of eternity.

Really? One thing.

We need to stop this. People of the King: We look like fools, not peacemakers.

The world knows us as a people of hatred. Last time I checked Jesus didn’t call us to hate each other.

Three examples from my life

  1. I don’t hate John Ortberg. I’ve never even met him. But I’ve had multiple conversations in the past few months where people asked me why I hate John Ortberg. It all goes back to a blog post I wrote in May 2010 where I disagreed with one thing he wrote on his blog. Really? That doesn’t mean I hate him. I never said I hate him. It means that he wrote something I disagreed with. That’s it. I’m not the president of his hate club. I’m reading one of his books right now. I’ve even bought and recommended his books in the past. I’m sure he’s a lovely person. I don’t hate him. It was one thing. Big deal? I’d still recommend his church. I’d still listen to him preach. Wait… I have still listened to him preach. Amazing, right?
  2. I know of few people in Churchland who have more haters than Tony Jones. People hate me because I’m an acquaintance of his and have recommended one of his books here on my blog. Really? You hate me because I am an acquaintance of someone you’ve never met or spoken to but hate because he wrote or said some things you don’t agree with. First, it’s dumb that you can hate someone like Tony. (If you’ve ever met him you’d find out he is unhateable.) Second, it is really dumb to hate me because I know him. This hate by association thing is illogical. What’s next? Are you going to hate me because I drive a Volkswagen and you’re a Kia guy? Lame.
  3. People think I hate C.S. Lewis. I don’t hate him. I think his writings are over-rated and over-quoted. But it’s not like I think he’s a heretic. (Though, interestingly, evangelicals who adore his writing would think he was a heretic if they actually compared what they believe next to what he believed. But most evangelicals don’t know what they believe… that’s another post for another day.) It’s not like I’ve banned his books from my home. I just don’t like it that he’s on the quote-a-matic. Need a quote? Don’t want it to be from the Bible? Just spin the wheel on my brand new C.S. Lewis Quote-a-Matic. What I’m really saying is that I wish more Christians would read wider. If I was going to hate him it would be because his middle name is Staples… I’m more of an Office Depot kind of guy.

Litmus Tests

Let’s face it. Every single person in the world could do something you aren’t going to like at one point in their lives. We are a broken people. We have a natural tendency to hurt and be hurt by people.

And yet we walk around with these little litmus tests all day. A guy cut me off on the freeway? I hate him and wish he were dead. I don’t know him but I hate him? Are you kidding me? That’s a person doing something you’ve done. And you hate them?

Ludicrous.

We need to bathe in grace. And we need to carry around an aura of grace in how we interact with the world.

Let grace be our cologne as we leave the house.

Let the world know us for our gracious attitude towards those we disagree with.

We need to adapt a mindset that says we can disagree with someone, even strongly, and never hate them.

“For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.”

Romans 12:3

By Adam McLane

Kristen and Adam live in Ahwahnee, California.

11 comments

  1. Adam, I really think you need to be fair here. Can you really respect someone who’s “a Kia guy?”

  2. Adam: ouch. Hit home.

    Dealing with a relative that has decided to believe I did something I did not do, and won’t even hear my side of the story, but I was “convicted” in her mind all the same. No one else in our extended family believes as she does, and it’s created a schism, not just in the family, but in my heart. I can’t stand to be in her presence anymore. I don’t “hate” her, but she definitely does me, and has told family members that. I gave it over to God in prayer, but still don’t have peace.

    Thoughts?

    1. Not knowing more than what you’ve shared, my advice is this:
      a. Without relationship, restoration is impossible.
      b. You don’t have to agree to be in relationship. Of all the things in the world… Find something to agree on to rebuild relationship. (small doses might help.)
      c. I’m Matt 5:6 it says, “blessed are the peacemakers, for they will inherit the Kingdom of heaven.” Being a peacemaker doesn’t mean be nice. It means to make peace. When I’ve locked horns with people I’ve had to learn to make peace. I can’t wait for them to come to me, I have to go to them… And compromise and admit where I was wrong, and ask for forgiveness, and move the relationship forward.
      d. Work hard to be on equal footing. “I am no better than you.” that phrase seems to do it for me.

  3. I have found that we, as Christians, like to find someone we disagree with. I think, imo, that we like to feel right and justified, so if we find something we can argue with any amount of validity we like to jump on it and feel right and justified in our minds. Sounds an awful lot like the religious leaders of Christs time. For example, John 5 when Jesus heals a man and tells him to take up his mat and go home, the man does. The religious leaders, who were too good to go outside the walls (Jesus wasn’t) saw the man carrying his mat and assumed that the man was committing a sin. The Creator healed him and commanded him, but in their right-ness, they HAD to make a case for their view.
    Again, this is just what I have seen in my endeavors…and is my opinion. Good piece Adam.

  4. Biblical Hatred (1-8-2011)

    I love the biblical study of hate as it has
    a rich and dynamic history. In the NASB
    there are 172 times it’s referenced in
    163 verses, of which 40 times it’s located
    in the New Testament. Perhaps this is
    a word we can look into with our hearts
    yearning for enlightenment from His Word.

    One of the earliest mentions is found in the
    story related to Joseph. He was clueless in
    terms of understanding how hate works.

    Genesis 37:4-5, 8
    “His brothers saw that their father loved
    him more than all his brothers; and so they
    hated him and could not speak to him on
    friendly terms. [5] Then Joseph had a dream,
    and when he told it to his brothers, they
    hated him even more. [8] Then his brothers
    said to him, ‘Are you actually going to reign
    over us? Or are you really going to rule over
    us?’ So they hated him even more for his
    dreams and for his words.”

    Poor Joseph. All he wanted to do was to
    share his insights with his family to become
    all-inclusive in his father’s love. He mistook
    the heavenly revelation for his life’s work as
    a means to reach out to his brothers. For his
    error in understanding, he was a target for
    destruction. If his birth by Rachel was in
    1745 BC and it was 1728 BC when he was
    sold into slavery, then Joseph was only 17
    years old. Talk about youth-ministry!

    I work as a public servant in a school setting.
    While it’s an honor for me to witness these
    goings-on first-hand, I seek daily to silently
    pray for the peace as His gentle moves of His
    love fills our hallways, offices and meeting rooms.

    Still, I am sensitive to the oft-times minor slights
    (pun intended, btw) that seem to float in, around
    and over young people while adults shrug them
    off in caustic disregard of their negative defense
    mechanisms.

    In my job, I am able to observe how tweens,
    teenagers and adults misunderstand each
    other almost on a daily basis. I am surrounded
    by very intelligent people who form social
    attachments based on their mutual hatred of
    “X”(fill_in_the_blank_here).

    In it’s simpliest form, all hatred is based on a
    degree of rejection. This type of opposing force
    has an emotional sub-text that seeks to gobble
    up all participants into a fierce stronghold of
    epic proportions. This is where the expression,
    ‘making a mountain out of a mole-hill’ comes
    from. Hatred is a type of leaven that escallates
    the disconnection between brothers, families,
    neighbors and nations.

  5. Yes! Yes! Yes!

    One of my favorite YS talks of all time was from Jay Baker, another one that could definitely be on your list of people who the church has tried to “throw away” (including his whole family).

    Grace and peace to you, brother. Wish I could’ve been on that last road trip with you. Hope you had a blast. 🙂

  6. man i hate you adam mcclane. mostly because you live in san diego and i live in fort wayne IN. go Irish

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