by W. Thomas Smith Jr.
Stop judging Christians who endeavor to live daily for the Lord, who embrace His Holy Word, and who are unapologetic about sharing His Word with others.
Stop mocking, laughing at, and criticizing us because we don’t vote the way you vote or because we’re not “virtue signaling” or trying to please the prevailing culture or seeking to earn favor in the eyes of the world. Stop judging us because we happen to recognize the crystal clarity and significance in all of Scripture. Every passage of Scripture is significant to us, and every passage is there for a specific reason.
Stop belittling our symbols. So what if we hold up “banners” to our faith? Little ichthys fishes on car windows and websites, and crosses worn around our necks. What are they to you? The Bible is full of stories about the significance of banners and symbols which encouraged the children of God. The early church used the ichthys symbol as a means of identifying friend or foe. And we’ve all heard stories of 20th-century American POWs clinging to little twigs shaped into crosses as reminders of God, His promises, His salvation, and His sovereignty.
Stop calling us “haters.” That is a vicious and baseless label (as are the other terrible tags some have so freely tried to attach to us), and it is the exact opposite of who, and what, we are. Hate is antithetical to the true Christian. To suggest that a fundamentally believing Christian is a hater is like saying a fiercely devoted soldier is a coward. It simply defies logic.
Sure, you might find a small percentage of actual unloving and difficult-to-love people among us as you would in any other group. Every group has their proverbial 10 percent—the bad apples we might say—though for us such people are likely Christian in name only, because we Christians simply are not permitted to hate. In fact, we are admonished to strive to love even when it’s not easy. And we strive to love even those who truly hate us and would like to “cancel” us and our voices.
So what about love? God is Love. That’s an understatement. For the Christian, to love is our greatest commandment. Love is key. It’s the very core—the heart and soul you might say—of our faith. Love is also a multifaceted word with not as many descriptors for it in the English language as there are in other, far-older languages. And God is much more than Love alone. God is Holy and Righteous for starters, and we are not.
Think about that: Holy and Righteous. Have you ever truly contemplated the weightiness of those words? God is also a judge and a consuming fire. So yes, God is Love, but His nature doesn’t end there. That’s why, as we read in Proverbs 9, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.” And Hebrews 13 tells us, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”
So what about hate? We Christians love the things of God, and we certainly eschew the things that are not of God. But perhaps the only things we truly hate are sin and evil. And aren’t they one in the same? Sin is evil, and evil is sin. Anyway, we do indeed hate sin—especially our own sins—because sin grieves God. Yes, other people’s sin may sometimes be recognizable to us (for instance, it’s fairly obvious to me when someone utters the Lord’s name in vain, or when someone lies, steals, covets, or commits murder), but our own sin is what we are charged to struggle with. Not yours. That is, unless you try to force us into championing that which Scripture clearly tells us is an abomination to God.
Some opposed to our faith say we’re “judgmental.” But isn’t that a rather harsh judgment they’re making about us?
So back to love. We most assuredly love others—I mean everyone. For us, love goes far beyond a self-interested feeling. Love for us is a selfless act. It’s putting others first. That’s why we pray always for the strength and ability to love and the resources to give. We feed the homeless, for instance, and we do so all the time. But we don’t shout it from the rooftops. Nor do we condemn you if you don’t participate.
We also give to the church; and we do so with our money, with in-kind gifts, and with our time in ways others will never see, and our keeping-others-from-seeing is deliberate. We give to homeless shelters and homeless outreach centers and often directly to the homeless themselves on the street and to other strangers and to each other. We deliver meals. We lament with the brokenhearted. We pay bills for others, even when we barely have enough to pay our own. We volunteer at hospitals and anywhere else we see suffering.
We give of our time and resources to the poor, the sick, the elderly, the emotionally wrenched, the hopeless, the hurting, the fearful and the broken. But we usually do so without anyone else knowing because, as we read in Matthew 6, we are to give and to do for others without our left hand knowing what our right hand is doing.
So please stop judging us!
You don’t know us.
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W. Thomas Smith Jr. is a former U.S. Marine infantry leader and counterterrorism instructor. Today a military analyst and military technical consultant, he writes about national security issues, and he has covered war in the Balkans, on the West Bank, in Iraq and Lebanon.