I was watching the Grammys and Taylor Swift came out singing the song, “Mean.” Yes, it was about a mean boy in a relationship that started off mean and continued to be mean throughout his life. She kept repeating that catchy phrase, “Why you gotta be so mean?”
The world has become more cynical. In fact, horribly cynical. The sad thing is that this also happening within the church. Somehow, there is a niche or market for “Mean.” Mean and boldness are not the same thing. Boldness is fighting for truths that make people better. Mean, well, is just mean. Mean is nitpicking on preferences that are not convictions. Mean is trying to make a name for yourself by carving out an “anti-position” regarding things that have nothing to do with Biblical convictions. Even if you do have biblical convictions, the entire world doesn’t need to see us hurling spears at each other’s back. As Taylor Swift said, “Why you gotta be so mean?”
Here’s the problem with mean. Mean preaching is not “Standing out” in an era of so-called compromise, it’s conformity. The spirit of this age is a mean spirit bent on finding a weakness in humanity and exploiting it. When those in the church are mean, all we do is conform to the world’s ideology. In order to not conform we must be the opposite (Drum roll please) NICE.
My fear is that this young generation has spent so much time debating theology that we have become more divisive in spirit. All of us (including myself) must daily make an effort to spit out the venom of mean. We all might not be the greatest communicators of our day but we can all be nice. We can be non-conformists to mean. Yes, nice and bold can go hand in hand. In fact, they were made for each other.
WE DON’T NEED TO TEAR DOWN EACH OTHERS CAMP, WE NEED TO TEAR DOWN THE ENEMIES.
When we attack each other, all we do is create questions and confusion to the average Christian who doesn’t even understand what we are angry about. In fact, they don’t even care that we have an issue with someone who uses rap music, or teaches something different. The average person who comes to our church doesn’t need to hear our frustrations, they need to hear hope. My prayer is that when people see us as the church they say the words, “Why you gotta be so nice?” Then we explain the reason for our kindness. Which comes through Christ.