Christianity has helped the world in incredible ways with helping to develop education, medical care, prison and poverty ministries, and, in general, it’s given a greater sense of morality; even today, Christianity is typically the go-to group for help all across the world when there’s a need. Christianity is amazing… and yet, there is always a handful (or giant handfuls) of Christians who suck hard. They are like the Dyson vacuum on steroids for suckiness because they’re sole crushers with their negativity and judgement. For example, I got married two years ago at Safari Niagara, which I argue is the best wedding of all time. The venue was phenomenal as guests got to wander the zoo between the ceremony and dinner, and we had an owl fly in the rings during the ceremony. Add to this, the weather was perfect, my brother did a great job as the officiant (I taught him well), the MCs were fantastic (which is super rare), and all the family speeches were funny with the right amount of heart and no nervous slobbery tears or lame openings: (lame speaker) “To help with my nervousness I was told to picture people naked… how you do’n?” It was the most amazing day of both my wife’s and my life; we couldn’t be prouder of it or more thankful to everyone who was part of it. Butttttt… several months after the big day I was talking to someone at my office who knows my one Christian relative who was at the wedding, and her words to me were, “I’m so sorry about your wedding. Your (relative) told me it was a disaster, and everything went wrong.” So my my wife and I thought it was the greatest wedding ever, but somehow my relative found a way to rip it apart. It’s mind boggling how she could have hated it… except that it wasn’t a typical wedding; that and she’s is a prime example of the kind of Christian I’m scared of with her ‘I’m superior, so I get to judge you’ mentality. This is the kind of person who kills dreams and crushes souls; someone who never has a kind word to say and is always the first to point out your flaws; she’s just like Jesus… if Jesus was the opposite of Jesus. Christianity is supposed to be about love and it is even written, “So encourage each other and build each other up,” (1 Thes 5:11a) and, more simply, “Do not judge.” (Mat 7:1a) Christianity didn’t change the world by criticizing it, but by offering love where no one else would. Imagine what the world would look like if Christianity was bursting with encouragement and joy. Who wouldn’t want to be a Christian then? People wouldn’t be questioning if there’s a God; they’d be questioning how to be part of this amazing movement where everyone is so accepting and loving. Please know, I’m well aware that this judgmental and superiority mentality can be found everywhere, but that’s why churches need to be a safe haven; that one safe place free from this emotional garbage flinging. Unfortunately, these handfuls of curmudgeons who infect the church like a disease have destroyed or damaged the potential of many people, which means they have limited the Church itself. Their judgement destroys the hope needed to dream and perform. For instance, I’ve done over a hundred weddings since starting it as a hobby-business a few years ago, and people have been very generous with their praise for my personalized ceremonies. This year I ran into a problem with someone who didn’t think humor has any place in a wedding ceremony, and even tried to have me stopped from doing weddings anymore; it was vicious and scarring. Was this person a Christian or non Christian? Yup, they were 100% “Christian”, emphasis on the quotes because they’re like the relative from my wedding: a soul crusher. The good thing about this experience is it reminded me that I need to continue to develop a thicker skin and be ready to brush aside these emotional vampires and their worthless comments. The problem remains, however, that the older I get, the less natural motivation I have to push myself to not just give up and hide. The older I get, the less conflict I want to face, and the less rebellious I want to be. Even worse, as a culture, we tend to give way too much power to the critical voices, which in turn encourages them to continue being vocally negative and destroying good people and dreams from happening. We need to start saying NO to these critical people and tell them to shove their negativity… somewhere and pull out some positivity. Constructive criticism is wonderful, but it’s only constructive when it builds people up; it should never make them want to give up.
To combat this, I recently read How Champions Think, and the author, a sports psychologist, says we need to focus on our positive moments and block out the bad if we want to succeed. One comedian, Mike Birbiglia, (fantastic comedian) called himself pleasantly delusional because after throwing up before his show and bombing hard he told his girlfriend the show was amazing. That spirit helped him continue and become one of the current leading comedians. He recommends we make a personal highlight reel of our best moments through video, pictures, or writing, and continually reflect on it, we need to focus only on our good moments, and let the negative slip away. Champions only see their successes, and any so-called failure is simply one step closer to success.
This week, may you make a personal highlight reel and/or focus on your successes to overcome the judgemental and superiority driven people.
Rev. Chad David, ChadDavid.ca, learning to love dumb people