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Will the Real Motive Assigners Please Stand Up, Please Stand Up?

Kurt Johnston —  January 17, 2014 — 3 Comments

finger pointing

You Eminem lovers out there in the #YMNATION surely appreciate the title of today’s post!

I’ve noticed something in the Christian community lately that I don’t like. And as I’ve been busy pointing out the splinter in the eyes of my brothers and sisters, I’ve ignored the log in my own.

It seems as if I/we are really good at assigning motives to people’s actions and beliefs. When somebody does something we don’t like, or says/believes something we disagree with, we quickly assign motives and judge our fellow followers of Jesus based on what we assume is the driving force behind their actions, beliefs, etc. Some examples:

  •  If I have a more conservative of view of women in ministry, I’m a misogynist and my motive is to protect my white male power and privilege.
  •  If I have a more liberal view of sexuality, I’m a progressive and my motive is to undermine the authority of scripture.
  •  If I’m a parent who wants to lead my son’s small group, I’m a helicopter dad who doesn’t trust the youth group and my motive is to cocoon my son and control things.
  • If I supported Phil Robertson, I’m a homophobe, and my motive is one of hate.
  •  If I didn’t support Phil Robertson, I’m a wayward Christian on a slippery slope to secular humanism and my motive is to undermine traditional marriage.
  • If I push back and ask questions concerning my boss’s decision, I’m a rebel and not a team player and my motive is to cause dissension.

Now, the reality is that those MIGHT be the motives behind such examples…but they MIGHT NOT BE. And I think it’s dangerous to assume we know the motives behind people’s actions, because these assumptions then drive our responses and create road blocks to healthy conversations and healthy relationships within the body of Christ.

I’ve been guilty of assigning motives and the victim of others doing the same to me. I suspect the same is true for you.

Kurt

@kurtjohnston

Kurt Johnston

Kurt Johnston

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Kurt Johnston leads the student ministries team at Saddleback Church in Southern California. His ministry of choice, however, is junior high, where he spends approximately 83.4% of his time.

3 responses to Will the Real Motive Assigners Please Stand Up, Please Stand Up?

  1. What you’ve said is true. I think part of the issue is that we’ve become too good at labeling people and putting them into categories. Then we deal with the category and not the person. Both the labeling and assigning motives (judging) are dehumanizing and potentially destructive.

  2. Kurt Johnston

    Claire,
    I think you’re right. It seems like the labeling and assigning motives go hand in hand, and both are often damaging. It’s tough not to do, though, given our brokenness.

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  1. Comment on Will the Real Motive Assigners Please Stand Up, Please Stand Up? by Claire Smith – iYouthPastor - January 20, 2014

    [...] Comment on Will the Real Motive Assigners Please Stand Up, Please Stand Up? by Claire Smith [...]

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