Making fun of immature Christians has turned into quite the lucrative market. The more mature Christians among us seem to have discovered this, as more and more spoof sites are cropping up. I find myself enjoying some of these and laughing along at some of the innocent humor. It’s good to be able to laugh at ourselves at times. But I also found myself quite convicted as I read through Christopher Love’s little book, Grace: The Truth, Growth, and Different Degrees. A powerful wave of conviction flooded over me as I thought about the many times I’ve rolled my eyes and silently mocked some well-meaning Facebook posts.
Yes, it’s frustrating that some believers feel the need to like and share a photo of an American looking Jesus in order to show their devotion. Yes, when compared to the believers being slaughtered for their faith it seems like a pretty paltry form of devotion. But what if it truly is a mark of grace that somebody who once would have never identified with Christ found the courage to hit that “like” button and identify themselves with Jesus—even if a crude representation of the Son of God?
Christopher Love had a great word for what wells up in my heart in these moments—oversuperciliousness. That isn’t a fancy word for holiness. It’s a fancy word for being filled with abominable pride and strutting around like a foolish peacock. It isn’t a mark of holiness to mock the weak. Instead, “the strong should cherish the weak. Angels despise not the poorest of Christians, but minister unto them”. Is it possible that our oversuperciliousness is wounding the faith of some weaker Christians and stunting their growth? Isn’t there a better way than ridicule to lovingly spur them onto a more grounded faith?
I find myself guilty of some of these. Here are five ways to injure and discourage weak Christians:
- Raise the bar far beyond their strength and growth. Christopher Love actually warns his audience, encouraging them “not to put them to read such authors as are above their capacities.” (So maybe John Owen isn’t a good start for new Christians).
- Be quick and harsh in your reproof of them. The unwise will think it their duty to stamp out every instance of sin when they see it. But grace will call us to be patient with every infirmity and work on winning the bigger battles at first.
- By pridefully setting the strength of your gifts against theirs. This is like a senior in high school thinking he is Michael Jordan because he can dominate a second grader on the basketball court. It might make you feel good about yourself but its likely to crush the spirit of the second grader. The same thing can happen spiritually when we try to brighten our torches by comparing them to the weaker flames of immature Christians.
- Puzzle them with doubtful disputes. Rather than basking in the simple gospel make every issue about some sort of disputable matter of doctrine.
- Give them a terrible example. “Weak Christians are more apt to be led by example than by precept.”
I’m discovering that my pride likely places me in the position of a weak and immature believer, and so I take great comfort in the Lord’s patience with me. I appreciate these gracious words of Love:
God considers that we are but dust; and the wise Physician of our souls will mercifully weigh every grain of every dose, and will not outmatch their strength whose strength is small. (Love, 57)
Photo source: here