Why are we, as a people, so prone to being mean? Do we fail to see the difference between righteous judgment and just being self-righteous?
Using the bloggernacle as a concentrated version of Church culture I think it becomes clear that humility and modesty are not necessarily our strongest attributes. Even in the less inflammatory real world, basic principles are greatly twisted and horribly skewed once all that human nature becomes involved. Service, parenthood, faith, worthiness…no motive or result is off limits when we decide it’s “our place” to render judgment. Too often this is done behind someone’s back and in the iciest of manners. But it may be the haughty, in your face, “someone had to say it” attitude that does the worst damage. And sure, we’ll pass judgment on an outside group easily enough (ever hear the phrase “the gays” at church?), but our really good stuff is saved for other members. Heaven forbid someone feel differently than us, because then it’s time to break out the grill and roast them over the coals, preferably in front of many, many people.
Yes, it’s a personal subject to me, having been on the receiving end as a youth. This totally unjust condemnation eventually led to my inactivity in the church, and though I later navigated the long road back to the gospel, many in my position have not. I no longer take notice of the barbs and snide comments, because I’m content in myself and my relationship with the Lord, but my heart breaks for all the people so hurt that they could never muster the strength to come back or to even approach the Church in the first place.
These attitudes wound, deeply. I feel so much more hurt when I see it from members of my own church because 1) We love to tell people how accepting and loving we are, 2) We are so put out if someone questions our motives (but see no fault in questioning others’), and 3) We, of all people, should know better. In fact, we do know better. I think we’re just really, really good at rationalizing….