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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Barking Christians

Our three little dogs, Molly, Rosie, and Sadie go wild when a dog appears on TV. They charge across the room, stop just short of the TV screen, and bark for all their worth. When I switch channels, they must think the dog left the family room and retreated to the back yard, because they rush to the back yard in search of the TV dog.

Barking at a canine TV image is like barking at the wrong crowd, something far too many Christians do. They show up at a church business meeting and make themselves obnoxious by barking about a new expenditure or policy. They criticize the board’s leadership or complain about something the pastor either did or should have done. The slightest proposed change to the church constitution drives them wild. They crank up their barking to unbearable decibels.

These are the same people who phone or email others to bark about the visitors who had the audacity to sit in their seats last Sunday. Wiggling kids or giggling teens are also targeted for barking.

Like our dogs’ attacks on harmless TV images, barking Christians almost always attack the wrong crowd. The devil is the foe they need to confront. Instead of wasting energy and time by venting grievances against fellow believers, they should join forces to oppose the devil and his evil actions.

The apostle Paul decried the senseless barking that was evident in the churches of Galatia. He warned, “If you keep biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other” (Galatians 5:15). He urged the Galatian believers to “love your neighbor as yourself” (v. 14).

Surely the best anti-bark remedy for disruptive Christians is a little bit of love.

—Adapted from Meditations for Dog Lovers by Jim Dyet, © 2005, published by AMG Publishers/Living Ink Books