In the field of psychology there is what is known as self serving bias. Self serving bias leads us to believe that good things in life are our own doing and the bad is because of people and things outside of our control.
For example, the good, “I got a raise because I’m so hardworking and dedicated,” versus the bad, “I got fired because the boss hates me.”
See the difference?
My actions are responsible for causing the good, my boss’ preference is to blame for the bad.
There is also what is called the fundamental attribution error. This is essentially the same thing, but reversed and pinned on someone else.
For example, “He got a promotion because he went to the same school as the boss,” versus the opposite, “He got fired because he is always late and messing things up.”
While the Church isn’t the group that created this bias, it also isn’t doing anything to stop it. In fact, most churches seem to do a great deal (subconsciously, I’m sure) of spreading it.
When someone outside the church sins we love to point the finger at all the things they do wrong as an explanation, “He doesn’t pray enough, she doesn’t read her Bible, he doesn’t come to church, she really isn’t a believer, he needs to grow up, she just needs to make better choices,” etc. etc.
However, when we find ourselves chin deep in sin we’ve been taught to use Romans 7 to explain that it’s the sin inside of us and not our own fault.
Actually, I agree with that.
What I don’t agree with is when we flip it around on members of our own body and on to non-Christians, as well. If we really are to own that we believe the best of ourselves, then we must also believe the best of others.
Plenty of studies have been done on “Teacher Expectations” for behavior and academic achievement. When others believe in you, you perform your best. When other don’t believe in you, you perform poorly.
How much better would our world be if we believed the best of each other, rather than the worst?
How much better would our world be if we used our religion to love and pray for our enemies, rather than condemning them?
How much better would our world be if our Church actually looked like Christ?
Research says… a lot. Church, it’s time to step up, take responsibility for our own actions, and give others the encouragement to be the best they can be. Stop with the, “Love the sinner hate the sin,” and start with the “Love the sinner, hate my OWN sin.”
“Lies my BIBLE teacher taught me,” is a series of posts about general statements that have been emphasized by the prevalent attitudes and beliefs of Western Christianity. It is NOT a list of doctrinal statements that the Church is or was teaching at any point in time.