Suppose you know someone who’s constantly threatening people with arson, who enjoys putting fear in people, or is relentlessly accusatory. Every time someone suffers a misfortune he is gleeful. Of course there are many labels one could put on such a human but sadist would seem most appropriate.
We ordinarily use the term “sadist” in our everyday parlance to depict someone who derives enjoyment from causing pain. But therein lies the problem. The commonality blinds us to the seriousness of the terminology. In clinical psychology it is a grievous patois, a very troubling state of man reminiscent of a psychotic thriller. Sadism is actually a disorder. According to psychnet–uk.com, the sadist lacks concern for people, and derives pleasure from harming and humiliating others. The sadist is also amused by, or takes pleasure in the psychological or physical suffering of others. Gets people to do what he or she wants by frightening them through intimidation and terror; restricts the autonomy of people with whom he or she has a close relationship.
As saddening as the contemplation of the above character is, truth is some Christians exhibit sadistic tendencies of the clinical variety in alleged propagation of the gospel. And they do so unfortunately in the name of Christ, which is rather shocking. Or how do you explain Christians relishing the fact people will go to hell, or threatening people with hell fire? We do recognize the reality of hell but Jesus never asked us to threaten people with hell! God wants people to come to him out of love and appreciation, not out of fear. How do we justify the thinly veiled hatred for the world exhibited by some Christians, despite divine injunction to love humanity and sinners? How do we explain the desire to control and regulate the lives of others with prejudicial and cultural provincialism?
How do we explain a Christian rejoicing at the misfortune of others, say over the loss of a child, husband or wife? How do you accuse a grieving widow of witchcraft? Or declare the loss of an innocent child God’s judgment? Which God? Does the Bible not say we should mourn with those that mourn? (Romans 12:15) Whatever happened to the spirit of compassion? How do we explain the disdain some Christians have for people who dress dissimilar to their cultural taste? It sometimes borders on despite and hatred. Yet the Bible says, “Anyone who hates another brother or sister is really a murderer at heart,” thus confirming our psychotic diagnosis. (1 John. 3:15 NLT) And that spirit of condemnation, where is it coming from? It’s certainly not from the Lord Jesus Christ! He said he’s not condemning anyone. (John 3:17) How can the people Jesus committed the continuity of his ministry of reconciliation to, hate the very people they’re supposed to reach out to? How can you despise another human, someone you never made and can’t make?
How do we explain the awful excoriation of those who make conspicuous mistakes in life, say a pregnancy out of wedlock? Are we not sinners ourselves? We forget there’s no such thing as a big sin or small sin before God, and that there’s such a thing as thought crime in Christianity. That before God thought crime is as heinous as physical sin. (Matthew 5:28) How do we justify the casting away of a pregnant single girl from church? Where do we want her to go? And it doesn’t matter how faithfully she’s served in the past, once her sin balloons she becomes persona non grata. Obviously church is an exclusive club for the perfect. We humiliate the mistaken, turn them into parables and use them as sermon fodder. That’s wrong! We’re not saying discipline should not be enforced, but discipline must have an open backdoor of redemption. It’s how an exceptionally grievous sinner got restored in the church at Corinth. (1 Corinthians 5:1, 2 Corinthians 2:5-8) The purpose of discipline is redemption.
How do we explain the treatment of divorcees, or the insistence on hatch lockdown for those experiencing mentally debilitating and emotionally ruinous marital trauma? Isn’t mercy the weightier matter of the Law? (Matthew 23:23) Of course the twice divorced is twice condemned, even though Jesus himself would not condemn the fifth-divorced woman at the well of Samaria. (John 4) She was the Elizabeth Taylor of her time. Isn’t there a reason God put such stories in the Bible? The Bible is full of stories of imperfect people. Were Jesus walking the earth today he would be cast from the temple for the egregiousness of not endorsing the stoning of the woman caught in adultery! (John 8) How could he endorse adultery, the Pharisees will query. Is he not encouraging fornication, the Sadducees will intone. Whatever happened to the facticity of the God who gives second, third, fourth, fifth and umpteenth chances to all, including the Pharisees? Whatever happened to the truism of the God who keeps forgiving sinners?
This “thing” we’re practicing…it bears no semblance to Christianity. It’s sadism. These are not the teachings of Jesus! Some Christians are so deluded. They imagine themselves regulators of the Body of Christ, the ones who guarantee the sanctity and purity of the Body. Egocentric delusion is psychopathy.
It is obvious some Christians don’t use a mirror. If they did they would never engage in the hurtling of accusatory projectiles, casting stones. Or is it they’d never read that blunt instrument called 1 John 1:8: “If we claim we’re free of sin, we’re only fooling ourselves. A claim like that is errant nonsense.” And it gets more ridiculous. These psychotic tendencies are underguarded by spurious filtration dogmas. Some believe women who wear trousers will arrive in hell through the expressway; those with tattoos by a bullet train. Which of course forecloses the preaching of salvation to certain groups of people.
It soon becomes obvious that a lot of these dogmas are predicated on selective and pedantic application (not observance) of the Law of Moses. Those who condemn those with tattoos for example rely on Leviticus 19:28, but conveniently ignore the verse just above (Leviticus 19:27) on the shaving of beards, as well as the entire Book of Galatians.
Jesus told us to mind the log in our eyes. Since a log in an eyeball effectively fills the field of vision, it means what Jesus was saying is that the sin we imagine we see in others is actually the huge log of wood in our own eyes. And so what we accuse others of we’re probably guilty of. “Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults…” (Matthew 7:3-5 MSG) If only we’ll listen to Paul’s adjuration in 1 Thessalonians 4:11 that everyone should mind his or her own business. How can the absence of tattoos be a dermatological passport to heaven? Isn’t the body left behind at death?
It would turn out that these Christians are unschooled in the basic doctrines of the Kingdom. That they cannot see the over-write of the Law of Moses by the Law of Grace. Neither do they realize the purpose of the Law of Moses is to show impossibility of salvation by morality. (Galatians 3:11 MSG) They’re so dedicated to putting themselves under the curse of the Law. (Galatians 3:10) It’s amazing! Paul is probably saying in Heaven, “These people are crazy!” Just like he told the Galatians.
If we don’t teach sound doctrine in our churches, we will continue to breed an unfeeling, uncaring, unloving, unsympathetic generation of Christians. An unsympathetic generation cannot preach the gospel of mercy and love. And how sad that truly is!
© Leke Alder | firstname.lastname@example.org