Where’s Your Focus?

Isn’t it funny how we can agree with 90% of what someone says but we focus, twitter and blog about the other 10%.

And just so I’m clear by “funny” I really mean sad and pathetic.

Why do we do this?

Why do we poke fun?

Why do we take cheap jabs?

Why do we criticize?

Why do we belittle?

Is it about defending truth and protecting a generation against false prophets? Ummmm, usually not.

We usually do it because we somehow think it justifies our stance. Because surely we couldn’t both be right. Surely more than one model wouldn’t work.

We usually do it because our ego has been damaged and it just makes us feel better to tear someone else down. I hate this part of me, but I know from experience tearing others down can briefly make me feel better about myself.

We usually do it because we ourselves have been a victim of criticism and we’re reacting from our hurt. The old adage that “hurt people, hurt people” is so true and alive and well in the church today.

Matthew 7

3 “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? 4 How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? 5 Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.

Can I make a suggestion? Instead of focusing on the 10%, why don’t we build relationships based on the 90%. And as God opens doors let’s speak into one another’s lives. Let’s focus on being one and allow God’s Spirit to bring about the change to His body He desires.

Trust me. I don’t agree with everything my pastor friends believe. I don’t believe in all of their theology, strategies, personalities, and models, but I’ve found we’re still on the same team and we can accomplish a lot more together than we can tearing each other apart.

If listening to that pastor’s messages ticks you off, then don’t listen.

If articles about the missional church drive you crazy, then don’t read them.

If the growth of the attractional church makes you angry, then stop tracking their numbers.

If every time you read his blog or her blog you find yourself fighting a wave of jealousy, then unsubscribe.

Now I know some of you are going to say “but how do we bring about change if we don’t challenge, question and push back?” I’m all for challenging, but I think there is a way we can do this with respect, love, and grace. There is a way we can engage in a conversation without throwing stones and taking public shots at each other.

Focus on the change you need to bring to your life, to your church. Worry about the “log” and give the “speck” a break.

I think our firestorms of criticism are doing immense damage to the body of Christ. Not only are we distracting each other from our main mission, we are simply playing right into the hands of those outside the faith who already think we’re trite and hypocritical.

17 Responses to “Where’s Your Focus?”

  1. Amanda Sims says:

    This is so good.

    It feels like it’s becoming more popular among modern Christians to be nit-picky to the point of being antagonistic, and frankly, it’s tiring. Not only that, but you’re right, it makes those watching us believe that we’re nothing but mean to one another, and therefore will be mean to THEM.

    We need to be known what we are FOR, not what we’re AGAINST.

  2. Jody says:

    I believe the Internet is a great tool for modern-day journalism, whether it’s the truth about politics, or way more important things like the spiritual elements of this life that you display here on this blog. Your blog was the first blog that I started reading on a daily basis, and I continue to do so. While the Internet is a great tool for lovers of life, it is also a great tool for the “haters.” In my experiences, I’ve found that “most” haters are also cowards, and on-line critiquing or over-analyzing is a perfect way for them to attack like wild hyenas on their prey. Shalom to you, my friend.

  3. Robin Padanyi says:

    I really enjoy your perspective, Pete. This is a great commentary on how discourse within the Body of Christ can quickly devolve into lobbing criticisms from entrenched positions. By embracing our shared brokenness and need for Jesus’ saving work, we can speak to each other from positions leveled by God’s grace and our humility.
    Here’s hoping and praying for a new ecumenical spirit!

  4. Laretha Hulse says:

    Yes! This is so true and timely.

    Churches tearing down other churches, pastors partnering to discredit and tear down other pastors PUBLICLY in written and spoken word. That’s what I’ve witnessed in the past 6 weeks. It has caused more damage to the kingdom of God than ANY non-believer ever could.

  5. Marjorie says:

    Yes! Love the point about if you don’t like a message, or blog, or whatever else someone is doing then just stay away. We all get so caught up in tearing each other down (especially within the church) and it is maddening. Even if I might not agree with so and so, its NOT my place to publicly bash them because they may be speaking into someone else’s life and making a positive difference.

    Your blog is on fire this week! Thanks for speaking into my life!

  6. Brent Dumler says:

    So good! Thanks for posting this, Pete. The truth is that we are all supposed to be on the same side as the missional Church. We end up communicating, however, the complete opposite when we act like two-year-olds in the faith. When believers act like this the unbelieving community looks and us and states, “See, why would I want to be a part of that?”
    Let’s work together to make a positive change for the Kingdom.

  7. ThatGuyKC says:

    Amen. Amen. Amen.

    Thank you, Brother. I really needed to hear this.

  8. Jason Vana says:

    Great word today, Pete. I struggle with this same thing from time to time. I’m learning to speak encouragement before trying to tear someone down just to feel better about myself.

  9. christopher says:

    My mouth is shut about this, hope we do love each other and love God

  10. Russ says:

    A great word about this… I wish I had heard this and considered it a couple of years ago when we left our old church, because I didn’t really leave that well.

  11. Rich says:

    Hurt people do hurt people. Unfortunately I’ve on the giving and receiving end of that. But something I’ve learned is, free people free people. Fortunately I’ve been on both ends of that as well. I’m both skeptical and cynical by nature, and I focused on the 10% for a long time. Then I learned to change my focus – once I did I saw the 90% as a blessing and I found that rather than having all the answers I had so much more to learn. Thanks for writing this! It reminded me where I was and how far I’ve come. And how far I still have to go!

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