You are probably familiar with the saying, “One bad apple spoils the whole bunch.” I would even guess that you have used the expression a time or two. It is the idea that one bad person affects everyone they are close to through their rotten behavior. I would say that this is a concept of which you need to be keenly aware in Christian circles.
I was reminded of this truth today as I went on the internet. A few months ago, I became a part of a small Church pastors’ group on Facebook. The rules of the group are very clear. It exists to support people, answer questions and not debate theology. For me, the group has been helpful with questions about benevolence and canceling Church because of the weather. It has been useful to know other Churches policies and procedures. All total those who have joined number over 3400 pastors from across the country and the world. Every day I am blessed by at least one post to this forum.
Two types of people consistently try to ruin it. The first is the righteous zealot. They make it a personal aim to break the rules and argue theology. They are right, and they know they are right, so they decide to debate and argue with everyone. A few minutes of reading these posts and comments make me want to quit the group for such mean statements from another pastor.
The second group that makes communication complex with the community is the self-absorbed. They continually post pictures of their Church work, their sermons, their blogs, and everything they are doing. They do not ask for other people’s advice because they are there to give instruction, not receive it. These people seem to be clueless as to the needs of others and turn every discussion toward their holy behavior.
As I read through the posts, I recognize three things:
1. Every Christian group has these one or two bad apples. Wherever Christians gather there will be someone who wants to argue and someone who is self-absorbed. I really wish this were not true, but experience tells me otherwise.
2. One spiritual gift could be self-awareness. I believe it would do us all some good to go before God and ask him to reveal our weaknesses, including our failures in dealing with people. One area of faith is dealing with our sin against God, and another is learning to deal with other people in a Christlike way. We need to be honest about our behavior and ask God to make us self-aware. Don’t be that bad apple.
3. Know that it is only one or two. My group is 3400 people, and only a handful are the issue. The Church I lead has about 250 people involved, and all problems come from a handful of people. Be careful about labeling any group based on the actions of one or two.
I know this information is nothing new to you any more than it is new to me. Yet, I need to remind myself of these things every day. Today I almost gave up on a bunch of well-intentioned pastors because two guys have issues. I will not let their behavior define me or my actions.