Efforts to publicly shame, mock (we call it humor), and ridicule fellow believers for their wrongness is an arrogant misguided attempt to discredit them. From the confessions stated on The Gospel Coalition website (confessions of Kevin DeYoung by association), I doubt anyone reading this would disagree with the essentials of Christianity articulated there. I am certain we would not all agree on the vision for their ministry, or non-essentials, and that's O.K. It's not our ministry.
Are we free to mock others? Yes. Are we free to shame and accuse others? Yes. Jesus paid for every last drop of sin on our behalf. Free. That is the song of every Christian. The good news is that even though we will continue to mess up and make unwise and stupid decisions, the Lord has forgiven all our sin and gives new mercies every morning.
The gospel frees us to accept people for who they are without having to agree with what they believe.
Brothers and sisters, I may disagree with you, but you are not my enemy.
I became a Christian fifteen years ago. One sunny June morning I realized as I left the sanctuary of a beautiful Methodist Church, that I was leaving different from when I walked in. I stumbled my way around the Bible and Christianity over the course of the next year. I sought out my pastor for answers. He was always gracious and eager to help with even the most elementary of questions I had as a new believer. I recently read an email from that first year in which I wrote to ask him about Lent. My question was simply, "Why do we celebrate Lent if it is not in the Bible." I sat barely moving as I read his response. In the first paragraph he explained legalism. He went on to explain biblical principles. He then explained Lent, tradition, and denominational practices. His three page response was grace-filled and informative. He closed by pleading with me to ask more questions. He encouraged my thoughtful inquiry and my eagerness to understand the truths of my newfound faith. He never once condemned me for what was in all honesty, a legalistic inquiry. He did not make fun of me. He did not rebuke, chastise, condemn, or belittle. He treated me with respect, love, and sincerity. Reading that response gave me a picture of gospel discourse as I seek to interact with others of differing beliefs, theologies, and perspectives.
In love, interact.
With grace, disagree.
Pointing to Jesus, agree.
Maybe instead of being against someone, we can be for them - in Jesus' name.
As I said, this is not a defense. It is a rally - a rally around our only hope - Jesus.
Scotty Smith prays for all of us in this poignant post and I think he gets it right. That Jesus would give us wisdom and grace to know how to relate to faultfinders, conspiracy-hunters, liberty-smashers and self-appointed prosecuting attorneys as well as those friends who have turned Christian liberty into epicurean fantasies—"Eat, drink, and be merry, for we have a big gospel!"
The reality is, I find I am both. Free and bound, at the same time. I love the freedom the gospel gives me, however, in some areas of my life I still want to sniff out conspiracy. It is not as cut and dry as I want it to be. It is more messy than I'm comfortable with. Am I licentious? Yes. Am I legalistic? Yes. For all of the ways I am planted in each camp, I need Jesus.
...invade my heart.
Assure me of your great love for rebels, attorneys, the older brother and the younger. Show me the liberating freedom of the gospel and the hilarity of the party you've invited me to...
...I would much rather go in and dance.