Pointing out problems is easy, especially when it comes to the church. You don’t have to look very hard to find a Christian or Christian group doing something stupid. You also don’t have to look very far to find people making a public show of what a problem some other Christians are.
Unfortunately our talent for problem spotting doesn’t usually extend to ourselves. We’d like to kid ourselves that there is two classes of Christians- us “good” Christians and the troublemakers. When we think like this, we are deceiving ourselves. Sure, we might not be demonstrating the more dramatic, television friendly ways of being messed up but we are all flawed, sinful people. All of us have problems and all of us have been a less than perfect witness. I am part of the problem. You are part of the problem.
Pointing out the faults of someone else is easy because we don’t have the responsibility to fix it. We can walk away, thinking we have done something productive just for pointing out their problems. Sometimes there is a case for publicly dealing with issues involving people we have influence over, but realistically this is not the case in a good deal of our talking about the problems of other Christians. Bringing our own faults out into the light is so much harder because the responsibility for them is ours. We can’t walk away because our own problems follow us around.
Dealing with our own stuff may be harder, but it is where we can make a change. We might not be able to do much about the television preacher from another country who is doing something stupid, but with God’s help we can become more Christlike and a better witness to the world. Imagine how much things could change if we directed energy we used getting frustrated and angry at what other people do towards our own issues and towards becoming more like the kind of Christian we would like the world to be taking notice of.