“Even one of their own prophets has said, “Cretans are always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons.” This testimony is true. Therefore, rebuke them sharply, so that they will be sound in the faith and will pay no attention to Jewish myths or to the commands of those who reject the truth. To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted. They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.” (Reference: Titus 1:12-16 )
According to Barnes, and learned others, the island of Crete was (in the time of the writer of Titus) populated with enough scoundrels and ne’er do-wells that it has a reputation of filled with “liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons” and other epitaphs of scorn and disdain. But I have to wonder if that was true of all the people on Crete. After all one of their own was honest enough to speak the truth about them. Many things are made up about people; and habits and characteristics of a few can make a whole nation.
The same is true of Christianity – both as a positive and negative. Christians are seen has having certain traits that can bode will or bode ill. Jerome Segers warned friends and family to be aware of Christians who did not live up to the positives of that faith designation. He wrote in part, “Now, as the Lord is to be feared, I counsel and humbly beseech you, to conform your
life to the Gospel. For, to bear the name of a Christian, and to be called a brother, avails nothing; but the fulfilling of the commandments of God alone; for I have seen many among us who boast of being Christians, who love Christ with the tongue, but with the deed forsake Him (Titus 1:16), which is greatly to be deplored; for they are like counterfeit money, which from the outside seems to be good gold; but, when brought to the touchstone, or to the fire, it is nothing but copper within. Thus they walk among the pious, as though they were true Christians; but when the Lord begins to try them in tribulation, it is seen that all is built upon sand, and that they love their belly more than Christ . . .” Those Christians that bring shame to the name of “Christian” ruin it for true followers and emulators of God and Christ.
But true Christians who are shining examples of Christianity allow false-Christians to perpetrate their lies by taking advantage of the good reputations of Christians. In recent years, however, the lying and harsh judgments of “Christians” are starting to catch up with true Christians, and the reputation of Christians and Christianity as a general term has started to suffer.
Maybe this is what happened to the Cretans – that enough “bad apples” in the barrel spoiled it for an entire nation. That would be sad. But sadder still would be the name and designation of “Christian” would become synonymous with all the negative and worst traits of inflexible, hardhearted, judgmental people.
May you, beloved, bring honor and glory to the name Christian and to our Lord God Almighty. Selah!