How we live establishes or destroys what we have to say.
Especially for leaders.
My concern about what I see among some church leaders today is what appears to be a shrinking of concern about the character some put on display.
Let me share a simple --- even simplistic --- example from the twittersphere.
A few years ago, a well-known pastor of a well-known mega-church started following me on Twitter. I looked forward to reading his tweets, as it would give me a different, more personal peek at the person. Over time, I became concerned about the number of tweets that seemed sourced from the flesh.
Then came the tweet that really disturbed me.
In the 140 characters, this pastor stated that only people with well-toned arms and a well-toned upper torso should ever be seen in a tank top. It turned out a more senior individual who wasn't physically fit had been sighted by the minister and he thought it an ugly view.
Now, this is not an earth-shattering tweet. But where it had to be sourced from disturbed me.
Having lived in hot environments like the Arizona desert, I've known many elderly people who lived on sparse fixed incomes. Some struggled with their health. In an attempt to save money and try to be cool in the heat, many sometimes wore a tank top.
No, they were not stand-outs among the "beautiful people." Their biceps didn't bulge, more often their guts did.
Where would I have to source my thinking to have disdain for unfit elderly folk who dared to be seen in public in a tank top? How is it that a church leader would feel comfortable to tell tens of thousands of Twitter followers that only the pretty people should have the right for their arms and shoulders to be seen?
If you're ugly, cover up.
And how do we determine the pretty and the ugly?
I don't think it was a biblical source he was drawing from.
And I don't think such public ridicule is the character we want to see displayed from our leaders. Or from one another.
The world drowns us on a daily basis with such physical, sensory, and sensual nonsense. But God approaches things quite differently:
"But the Lord said to Samuel, 'Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart'," 1 Samuel 16:7.
If this is true, how, then, can we find it appropriate for a church leader to ridicule the ugliness of an older person in a tank top? The tank top tweet isn't earth-shattering, but it is an intensely practical application of our faith. If we look upon someone and see them as ugly just because of the shirt they wear, and feel comfortable to announce such an opinion publicly, just how far are we from the character of Christ?
Is it possible to think an unfit person may not be overtly physically attractive in a tank top? Yes.
But the more important question is: Is it the right character for a follower of Christ to publicly ridicule someone for doing so? Especially a "celebrity pastor" making such a comment?
When it gets hot this summer, several senior citizens (or persons of any age) will don their favorite tank tops. You might see some of them.
Watch your character!
Look at them as God would, love them as Christ does, and find the beauty our Creator equipped them with. Then you'll have something worth tweeting about.