Christians Aren’t Allowed to Be Jerks

By Gregory Koukl

One of my callers had a valid question. He asked if there is such a thing as mean-spirited Christians. My answer was, yes, Christians do all kinds of bad things, unfortunately.

I have to confess to you, I get discouraged when I hear of Christians being unpleasant. On the one hand, it’s understandable when Christians trip up and fall into error. I never get down on people who are seeking to live a Christian life and fail, even when they fail consistently in a difficult area. They’re working on it.

To me it’s an entirely different thing, though, when believers have consistent behavior patterns that are deeply offensive to God.

I just heard of a former friend of mine who’s been living with his girlfriend. (By the way, if you’re a non-Christian, I don’t expect you to understand this. I can appreciate that this is silliness to you.) Part of being a Christian means you play by certain rules, because being a Christian means you’re a follower of Jesus Christ. He leads; you follow. What He says, you do. That’s the way it’s supposed to be, at least. That’s the point of referring to Jesus as “Lord.”

When I found out my friend had been with this girl for ten years, I asked a mutual acquaintance, “Why didn’t he get married?” He said, “Because he’s got all the pleasures of being married without having to walk down the aisle. They’ve been living together for five or six years. They know it’s wrong, but they still do it.”

I thought, “What does it mean for them to call Jesus ‘Lord’ if they’re fully content to continue living in complete defiance of His desires?”

“But I love Jesus. I’m a Christian. Hallelujah, praise the Lord! Saved by grace, happy condition; sin as you please because there’s remission!”

Jesus called that hypocrisy.

Frankly, I don’t actually run into many Christians who are living together. Usually, Evangelicals who tolerate sin aren’t quite so blatant. The ones I run into more frequently are like the ones my caller mentioned, people who are just unpleasant or mean-spirited. I have a hard time with that.

I don’t understand how a Christian can talk about love, then feel he has complete liberty to be nasty, unpleasant, conniving or catty–a jerk, to put it simply.

This happens with Christian leaders more often than I’d like to admit. I don’t understand how people who say they love Jesus can get their backs up so quickly and be so consistently hostile to others. You know them, and so do I. “Oh yeah, what’s-his-name. What a jerk. Don’t sit next to him at worship. What’s he even doing in church anyway? And he’s in leadership!”

Friends, we don’t have the liberty to be jerks. It’s not allowed. We don’t have the liberty to be mean-spirited. It’s not allowed.

“Oh, now you’re putting me under the law.”

No I’m not. I’m not talking here about your justification. A Christian is justified by Jesus alone, not his own efforts. That’s a given. I’m actually presuming you’re already justified (though, if you keep living in rebellion to Christ, that’s a good reason to doubt it).

Justification is not the issue. Simple obedience is…


Stand to Reason: Christians Aren’t Allowed To Be Jerks

The Poached Egg