Some hungry-looking piranhas

Christians aren’t supposed to eat each other … but we’re really good at it

The church was created for a number of purposes, the biggest being to reach out to people who don’t know Christ and explain how to have eternal life through Him. Another purpose of the church is to support believers. It’s a place where people of like faith get together to worship Christ and learn about Scripture and help each other grow.

Sadly, in my experiences, the church in America is less like a support base and more like a tank of piranhas. They will devour any other fish who happens to come along and doesn’t fit in, and in difficult circumstances, they will devour each other.

Some hungry-looking piranhas

Some hungry-looking piranhas - Sedgwick County Zoo, Wichita, KS

Today’s verse is Romans 14:13.

So let’s stop condemning each other. Decide instead to live in such a way that you will not cause another believer to stumble and fall.

There has to be a point where we in the church focus less on finding fault in other believers and instead focusing more on how we live our own lives. Now, am I saying that when another believer gets involved in sin, we should let it go? No. That’s not what I’m saying. There are times and places for holding each other accountable. But holding each other accountable is completely different from condemning each other.

That’s what we do in the church. And I’m not talking about nonbelievers. This verse sounds to me like it’s written to Christians.

Christians are terrible about condemning each other. Another believer puts a toe out of line, and instantly they become public enemy number one. They are shunned. They are spoken ill of. Everyone around them treats them like they have leprosy.

Really? Is that how we’re supposed to act? Doesn’t everyone sin? Isn’t the church supposed to help and support people? If we can help and support people who don’t know Christ yet, why can’t we do it with people who share our faith?

Again, don’t misunderstand me, there are circumstances where some people who claim to be believers need to go their separate ways, but not for a single sin. Not if they are repentant and genuinely seeking forgiveness. But the church treats all the same many times. And we focus too much on finding faults in people and bringing them up.

But what about ourselves?

Before we condemn someone else for faults in his or her life, we need to look at ourself in the mirror. How many sins that we condemn others for have we committed today? How many indiscretions and imperfections do we criticize others for because we can’t fix them in ourselves? How many times do we take out our frustration on other people simply because it’s easier than righting something in our own life?

We need to live in a such a way that prevents other believers from falling into sin. If you follow Christ, we are called to live a life above reproach, not just among nonbelievers but among each other.

Care more about the mistakes and choices you are making, rather than finding fault in another believer. And who knows? If you turn your life around and live the way you’re supposed to and love others and make choices in your life that help others, maybe other people around you will understand. More people watch you than you know. And it’s not your job to straighten them out. It’s your job to live a life that points directly to Christ, that keeps other believers from stumbling.

Being a piranha is overrated. Live the way you’re supposed to, and God will take care of the rest.