Every year, I see Christians take great delight in sharing the same old April Fools’ meme targeting non-believers. It’d be nice if this little custom could stop.
Sometimes we Christians get a bit too big for our britches.
Despite what the Bible has to say about pride, we get a big heaping helping of it from time to time. For some of us, it manifests itself every April 1st, the day that everyone knows as April Fools’ Day.
But some Christians share a mean-spirited April Fools’ meme, shrouded, they hope, with the spirit of joking, to target non-believers.
The joke, whether it’s a simple social media status or a graphic of some kind, goes something like this:
April Fools’ Day: the day created with atheists in mind.
The Bible thumpers out there will surely protest my protestation, suggesting that the word fool appears in the Bible. And they’d be correct.
In Luke 12: 16-20, Christ teaches with what has come to be known as “The Parable of the Rich Fool:”
And He told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man was very productive. And he began reasoning to himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops?’ Then he said, ‘This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.”‘ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?’
The teaching is about the senseless focus on building wealth for yourself that you can’t take with you when you should be building your own ability to follow God’s will. God Himself, according to Christ, would call someone a fool.
But does that give us the right to do so? And are we really called to go around calling people who we decide don’t measure up to our spiritual standards a fool?
There’s that pair of commandments Jesus called the most important that reminds us that we are to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. But there’s also the great Commission: to spread God’s love and deliver the Good News to the world.
I have to wonder how calling someone a fool in a snide way can honestly be compatible with ministering to them for Christ. Do you want to listen to someone who starts off calling you a name?
Most of us, if we’re honest, wouldn’t.
I think we need to keep that in mind as we navigate through April Fools’  Day.
Someone who doesn’t know Christ and has never experienced God’s love shouldn’t be an excuse for a cheap shot. It should be a reminder that we still have work to do.