Why Are Some Of Us So Thin Skinned

Where I grew up, if you were quick to take offense or if you were sensitive to critical comments or opposition, you were called “thin skinned.” The idea is that an emotionally healthy person develops a “thick skin” to ward off opponents’ comments.

What puzzles me for most of my life has been the thin-skinned nature of so many American Christians. They are always looking for ways they are being “persecuted” or for signs they are not in the majority (hint: this type of Christian is not in the majority, but living in a rural area, I know many).

They are not really being persecuted. Not like the Christians living in many lands these days. Or even like we persecuted black people, native peoples, Jewish people, Catholics (yes, they were a persecuted minority for a long time in America), and “foreigners” (even unto this day).

It’s almost like an attitude of weakness, not of strength. I remember being 9 or 10 and reading and hearing about the Soviet Communist menace. And how those godless atheists were going to take over the country. And I remember thinking, if our God is that powerful, why do we fear those who have none? Why do we think they will be able to do away with God entirely.

Christians for the first 300 years of the movement lived as a minority in every city in which they existed. They learned to live amongst those whose beliefs were different. That didn’t stop them from worshiping their God through the revelation of Jesus. In fact, the way they lived was so powerful that the very way they lived attracted others to them

When one of the plagues swept Rome and the brave, strong men all fled to the mountains in terror, Christians stayed behind. They came out from their hiding places and helped the sick and dying. Once again, the way they lived even as a minority among pagans attracted many to Christianity. That time became one of the fastest growing in the movement.

I follow a powerful God. If I’m not in the majority as a Jesus-follower, even in America, that just puts me in the company of much of the movement. I wish my fellow followers had such confidence.

Jesus counseled us not to worry. We just go about our business of living correctly in the Spirit. I’d advise reading not only the Bible but also stories of the early church. Take advice from how they lived.

I wish my friends would concern themselves with how they live their lives and not worry about whether everyone around them agrees with everything they believe. Show by your life the power of God.

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