Don’t Make It Weird
If, therefore, the whole church comes together and all speak in tongues, and outsiders or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are out of your minds? 1 Corinthians 14:23
I wrote a couple days ago about how our faith, thoughts, and actions must not be shaped by what the world thinks of us. As Christians, we must follow God above all, not worrying about how popular opinion may injure our pride. There is a danger though, in not caring what others think. As Christians, sometimes we can embrace weirdness just for weirdness’s sake, not realizing that we’re engaging in behavior that repels others from the faith.
Years ago, I was involved in a Christian summer ministry that invited others to a “Movie Night”. We made it sound like we’d be watching Star Wars or something popular but it was a bait and switch, where we showed a corny Christian movie and then tried to force a discussion afterwards. It didn’t go well. Several people were bold enough to get up and walk out. Those who stayed, did so because they felt trapped, and remained extremely uncomfortable as the discussion questions were asked. We made it awkward, burning bridges with those we’d tricked and for the rest of the summer, they wanted nothing to do with us. Later, I felt terrible because I’d participated in an event that unnecessarily repelled others from faith in Christ.
In today’s passage, Paul warned against this. He taught that speaking in tongues is, indeed, a gift of the Holy Spirit. He cautioned however, that there needed to be some rules. He insisted that if everyone just blathered nonsense, with no one to interpret what was being said, that it would be chaos. He warned that this kind of behavior would make the body of Christ appear insane, unnecessarily repelling nonbelievers from the faith.
Following Christ is always going to be strange and counterculture. Loving your enemies, pursuing holiness, embracing humility, and treating others better than yourself, is always going to look peculiar to the world. If the world is repelled by that, then that’s not our concern. There are extraneous things we do however, that needlessly deter others from the faith. Sometimes, we make it weird for no beneficial reason.
As Christians, we must follow Christ above our pride and popular opinion. We must also though, be sensitive to unnecessarily repelling others with our insensitivity.