So I'm at a local diner this morning, writing in my journal and drinking coffee. At the table next to me is a group of women who meet weekly for their morning Bible study. I am not much of an eavesdropper, but because their table was right next to mine today, I couldn't help but hear some of what they were saying.
And the conversation was on what seems to be a common topic of choice for Christians: Other "Christians." With "Christians" in quotation marks. Because those other "Christians" (the folks that they're talking about) may not really be Christians, or at least that is the impression that I get. The "Christians" that they're talking about may be churchgoers, may be active in the church, may even be their friends, etc., and definitely claim to be Christians, but those "Christians" are misguided. They only think they're living a Christian life. Or, when they pray, they only think that God is hearing them. They only think they're going to heaven. But it's obvious from their behavior that those "Christians" are only imposters.
Thing is, these ladies aren't being mean. They are always very friendly, and they sound genuinely concerned for these "Christians," and sad that the people they're talking about don't have the wisdom and humility that these ladies believe is alive and well in their morning Bible study.
Now, if you were to talk to one of those "Christians" being talked about ... they would probably tell you they THEY'RE the real Christians, and that those gossipy ladies at the morning Bible study are misguided "Christians" who aren't really sincere.
It's very confusing. Say you're hanging out with Christians and looking to them for guidance. How do you know if they're real Christians ... or merely "Christians"? And how do you know that they're not talking about you behind your back ... or that, even though you think you're a real Christian, that maybe, perhaps, you might only be a pseudo-"Christian?"
I took an entire Bible study class that promised to answer these questions, but much of that conversation seemed to focus on the misguidedness of other "Christians."
Are there just a lot of misguided people out there who are rock-solid in their misguided beliefs? Or do I happen to only meet the real, true Christians while somehow managing to miss all of the imposter "Christians" who claim to be Christians, who believe they're Christians, but who, at bottom, are utterly clueless?
Anyway, it's a real pet peeve of mine when Christians start talking about "Christians," and how they are on the right path and the "Christians" are sadly misguided. They make the little quote marks with their fingers and everything when they say "'Christians'." They don't realize how destructive and confusing such a practice can be.