A Plea for Fewer “Andy Rooney” Christians

2 Jan

Andy Rooney was a professional curmudgeon. Every Sunday night on 60 Minutes, he would rail on all things cultural for a few minutes with his inimitable nasally voice. From death to taxes to Lady Gaga, Rooney covered it all with wit and sarcasm. He was America’s grumpy uncle and many people loved him for it. But for all his fame and humor, Andy Rooney was a lousy role model for Christians to follow in his approach to life. Yet, as I look into my own heart and out across the evangelical world, I see evidence of many “Andy Rooney” Christians, believers whose approach to life is more like the crusty commentator than the Christ they profess to follow.

As we enter a new year, how can we make a fresh start as believers and avoid being just another talking head? Here are a few suggestions.

1. Don’t be a critic. Spiritual discernment is important, but many people use discernment as an excuse to nurture a critical spirit. If you are spending your time in church evaluating everything about the service, you may be more a critic than a worshiper. If your first impulse with a new person is to size them up, to determine whether they fit in with your view of life, you may be more a critic than a friend. Don’t make people jump through hoops to earn your love. God loved you when you were His enemy. By the power of the Holy Spirit, you can love people who frustrate you, who confuse you, who disappoint you.

2. Don’t be a cynic. The sky is not falling. God reigns. He is saving people, even today. His Word is going out into all the earth. Our problems are great. The world is a sinful place. The church in America can be a place that baffles us as we see so much frivolity, entertainment, and fluff and so little gospel. It is easy to allow these challenges to push us down into a very small, cynical mindset. As a cynic, we begin to take potshots at everything and everyone we don’t fully agree with. Don’t get me wrong, false teachers deserve criticism. But many who are not false teachers are often lumped in with those who are false teachers in the mind of a cynic. If a preacher or teacher doesn’t line up with you on every point of doctrine, don’t write him off. God may have important things to say to you through such a teacher. Belief in a sovereign God should make us optimistic rather than pessimistic.

3. Don’t be conceited. You have nothing to boast in that God did not give you.  You were saved, not through anything in you, but entirely through the mercy of God. Your growth in holiness is not owing to your innate goodness but to the work of the Spirit and the Word in your life. Your theological system does not make you superior to anyone else. There are godly people all over the world who can not articulate their theology very well but live it far better than most of us because they live by what they see in Scripture and they walk with God. We need to acknowledge that God can use greatly in His service those who don’t agree with us on every point of doctrine. We need to be thankful for all in whom God is working and for all people whom God is using in His service.

4. Be a Christian. Be a follower of Christ. Be known for what you love and proclaim more than for what you are against. Don’t be afraid to stand against sin or against false teaching, but don’t make it a hobby either. Get out there and seek to bless people with the life God has given you. Use the gifts God has given you to serve the body of Christ and to love the lost. Live in the Word and prayer. Love your family and encourage them spiritually most of all. Let joy, peace, humility and contentment overflow in your life as you identify with the cross, not with being a curmudgeon.

There was only one Andy Rooney. Let him rest in peace this year and get on with following your King.

One Response to “A Plea for Fewer “Andy Rooney” Christians”

  1. Shannon January 2, 2012 at 11:56 am #

    Very good words – praying that I’m more of # 4 and less of the other three.

    Quote to remember – “There are godly people all over the world who can not articulate their theology very well but live it far better than most of us because they live by what they see in Scripture and they walk with God.” Very timely, I’ve been thinking about this alot lately.

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