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I’ve discussed (Link:) this topic before at the blog. The Bible instructs Christians that they are to first and foremost help other Christians, and specifically Christians in their church or local vicinity, before helping Non Christians in their communities, or helping Non-Christians in foreign nations, and seems to suggest even before spreading the Gospel to the unsaved in other nations (or not at the expense of).
One would not know these facts from watching most American Christian television or from visiting local American Christian churches, which almost always emphasize raising funds to send missionairies to unsaved pygmies in some other country, or the time spent saying how they feel so sorry for starving kids in Africa and India, or helping Thai or Eastern European girls get out of sex slavery, and so on.
As a matter of fact, as I type this message, preacher Jentezen Franklin is on TV right now with two people on his program talking about how they want to raise more money to send more food to hungry people in Haiti.
I’ve nothing against American Christians helping foreign Non-Christians or American ones, but American Christians are so annoyingly lop-sized on this issue to the point they are neglecting their fellow suffering American Christians, and this is in direct conflict to what the Bible teaches.
I’ve also noticed that many middle class American Christians are so hypocritical and harsh when it comes to other American Christians. They will weep and sorrow for obvious “sob stories,” such as abused women in shelters, the homeless, or starving kids in Africa, but they tend to act very unsympathetic and even cold and judgmental towards their hurting fellow Christians who sit next to them weekly, such as lonely, stressed out, Christian divorced women, the Christian elderly people in their church who are sick or dying, etc.
You can imagine how delighted and surprised I was to hear tele-evangelist Perry Stone say on a recent broadcast of his show much of what I said above: he told Christians watching his show that it’s fine to help pagans in foreign nations, but that the Bible instructs Christians they are to help and aid other Christians in their family and church first and foremost. I wanted to cheer when I heard that.
That instance on Stone’s show last week is one of the ONLY times I’ve heard another Christian speak up and mention this. The rest of Christiendom is obsessed with helping or yakking about starving Africans, human sex trafficking, or the homeless – anyone but the suffering Christian in their family or in their church.
I’ve attached the tags “insensitive” and “hypocritical” to this post because I have personally seen in local churches I’ve been to Christians who cry and beat their chests over the poverty, war, etc., of foreign nations, the unsaved homeless, and such, but these same people turn right around five minutes later and tell suffering Christian sister “Betty Sue” or Christian brother “Fred Smith” that they should just suck up and deal with the death of their spouse on their own, or stop feeling sorry for themselves over the loss of a job, or that they should stop feeling sorry for themselves because they’ve been diagnosed with cancer, and they should remember that starving Africans “have it worse than they do.”
I have seen, with my own eyes at local churches, and in Christian forums and blogs on the internet, Christians who are very dismissive of other Christians’ problems.
Sometimes these types of insensitive Christians do this by saying things like, “You don’t have life AS BAD as homeless people or starving kids in Africa, so stop your crying. Count your blessings.” And these people are oblivious to how mean, damaging, and hypocritical those sorts of attitudes are.
(I do think there might be a tiny percentage of people who need to hear such comments, but I don’t think most do. I had one friend who would frequently cry and complain over things like her cell phone battery dying, or her video game unit breaking – she would get upset over things most of us would agree are truly trivial, so she is probably one of the few people who needs to realize there are other people with issues far more troubling than hers.)
It’s deeply appalling and infuriating to me that a Christian can weep and have compassion for people they don’t even know (such as homeless people in shelters or starving African kids) but have about zero compassion for the man or woman who sits next to them each week at church.
I’m also mystified by it. How can you have a compassionate heart for people you don’t even know, like orphans in India, but have none for suffering Christians who attend your church?
I have personally been on the receiving end of this sort of thing by other Christians.
When I told a few Christians at a local church about a few very painful ordeals I was undergoing, including with the death of someone in my family, they basically handed me platitudes, and they told me since I don’t have life “as bad” as homeless people, I should shut up about it and be grateful for my life as it is. I have a strong feeling if the shoe was on the other foot, these people would not appreciate me giving them a taste of their own medicine and diminishing their hurts and problems.