Can Christians Learn from “bad people?”


First of all, I completely understand that the title can be quite offensive for any non-christians reading. I would agree with you, but unfortunately, it’s got to be addressed with folks on “team Christian,” because some of us would answer this question with an emphatic, “NO WAY!”

To refute these sentiments then, let’s start with the very basics:
1. Can the guys in emery learn anything from Marilyn Manson about the music business?
2. Can Joel Osteen learn some jokes from Chris Rock?
3. Can Tim Tebow learn anything from Steve Young?

No one in their right man can argue against the fact that any of these folks can learn from the other, especially #3. It’s simply common sense.

However, the potential gray area (and what this post will address) is the issue of Christians learning from and modeling after behaviors of non-believers to become better people. I believe this is possible as well (with some limitations).

Let’s first address the term “bad people.” Many would interpret “bad people” as folks that haven’t accepted Jesus as savior while personally I would interpret this as “everyone but Jesus.” Sure, Christians have been graciously declared righteous and I don’t want to make light of what my big brother Jesus did, but unfortunately, Christians still do bad things, which by definition make us “bad people.” For more thoughts on my rationale here, see this old post. If you want to argue against this point, please comment on that old post. We probably won’t see it.

So, you may be asking, “How in the world can Christians learn moral-type issues from those that don’t even believe in Jesus and his word?” There are so many angles to hit this issue. I’ll pick one.

Just because people don’t believe in Jesus doesn’t mean they don’t know right from wrong. For example, reflect on the last time you saw a facebook status that read, “I just cheated on my wife and it was grrrrrreat!” You haven’t seen a status update like this because the many dudes out there cheating on their wives know it’s wrong and would be ashamed to post it.

So, let’s take the Christian that is addicted to porn and the non-Christian that USED TO BE addicted to porn. Is there anything the non-Christian can say to help the Christian? In order to stop looking at porn, what if the non-Christian decided not to have a smartphone or keep the computer in a private area of the house? Would this not be decent advice to offer the Christian who is still struggling?

What about an obese Christian getting advice from an unbeliever on how important it is to take care of his body by eating right and exercising? Is this not a moral issue?

What about an unbeliever calling a Christian out for “going off at the mouth” on a co-worker or talking behind the boss’s back? That would be quite a humbling experience for the Christian, and I’m afraid many of us would have the tendency to excuse, make light of, or deny altogether what we did wrong. This would reveal that we are more concerned about our reputation as a “perfect Christian,” rather than repent and ask for forgiveness, which points more to God’s glory.

“For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses…” (2 Corinthians 12:10)

epilogue: With all of this said, here are some things that Christians should avoid in regards to being influenced by folks that don’t see God’s Word as the highest Truth. SEE HERE.

What do you think?

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