Are you a Christian Kill-Joy?
When you're at the movies, is your heart grieved over the irreverent jokes everyone else finds hilarious? Does your sense of modesty keep you from enjoying public gatherings where too many are wearing too little? Are your sanctified sensitivities offended again and again at things others just ignore? Then you may be a Christian kill-joy!
Do your family and close friends ask you to chill out from time to time, and just let things go? Do they roll their eyes when they see you shaking your head in disgust? Are they afraid to leave you alone at parties for fear you'll engage folks in meaningful conversations about self-denial, and a passion for holiness? Then you may be a Christian kill-joy!
Do you refuse to spend money supporting secular ideologies that mock your Savior? Are you dogmatic in your conversations about the existence of absolute right and wrong? And do you make decisions based on God's Word rather than the emotion of the moment, and often walk alone? Then you may be a Christian kill-joy!
But take heart. While it is never a Christ-follower's right to be obnoxious or frustrating, it is true that the authentic life aroma of a Gospel intoxicated person is the smell of death to some. Paul put it this way:
"For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life" (2 Corinthians 2:15,16).
We are called to represent Jesus Christ and live in a manner worthy of the calling he has on our lives. But too often consistent Christianity will mean not thinking things are funny, appropriate, or God-honoring, even in contexts where our believing friends and family are going along to get along.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer put our call into words when he said "Every Christian must be fully Christian by bringing God into his whole life, not merely in some spiritual realm."
It is too easy today for Christ-followers to compartmentalize their convictions, allowing themselves realms where the rule of Christ and a passion for holiness are kept at arm's length so as not to make waves. After all, we don't want to offend. Or do we?
But the Gospel, and the transformed life it brings will be offensive to many, even some who claim to follow Christ. So what to do?
Those of us who are Christian kill-joys must always remember a core truth: it can't be our personal manner that offends, but only the message of Christ. God has not called us to be the public's conscience but he has called us to maintain our own conscience in purity, while bringing the Gospel to bear on the consciences around us. This will demand both truth and love, as well as wisdom and patience on our part. After all, it is our privilege to usher folks into real joy, not kill it.