Faith

Article On Loving Fat Christians Would Be Funny…if it Weren’t So Sad

How should you love fat Christians? I stumbled upon an article that actually offered seven tips for doing just that.

If our bodies are supposed to be temples to God, no good Christians should ever become fat Christians, right?

That’s the logic some people believe, although the benefits of being physically fit don’t make nearly the number of sermons as the constant fight against things like homosexuality and same-sex marriage do.

So I was surprised to see an article from The Gospel Coalition titled, “7 Ways to Love Christians Who Are Overweight.”

The article suggests that many Christians with weight problems are not treated all that well at times in church. 

Honestly, I don’t remember a single time in which a fellow church member ever said a single word about my weight. Then again, we’re in the South, where not being overweight is typically regarded as a sign that you haven’t found enough “good” food.

But the writer of the article apparently was presumed to be a victim of the “sin” of food addiction and was invited to join a fellow parishioner in a weight-loss program. I’m not sure, from what she says, that the person who invited her truly assumed the writer was “addicted” to food or was actually “sinning” by being overweight. 

In any case, the writer felt that way based on her experience.

“Extra pounds become scarlet letters, marking saints as idolaters, gluttons, and sluggards,” she wrote.

While I never felt that anyone made that assumption about me — which could well mean that they kept their opinions to themselves enough that I didn’t notice them — some fellow churchgoers might have assumed that.

I have more important things to worry about.

Should we really need 7 ways to love a fat Christian?

Yes, the article refers to “Christians who are overweight,” but the tone of the article clearly suggests some Christians are viewing others as “fat” with all of its negative connotations.

The first item on the list is quite simple:

“See me, not a sin.”

How many sins — real or perceived — might prompt such a statement by those who are said to have fallen into those traps? 

We all want to be seen for ourselves, not our weaknesses. But too often in churches these days, all we’re seen for is our foibles. Meanwhile, everyone else tries to hide their own so they can join the crowd ready to cast stones against those who don’t hide theirs as well.

You can read the other six in the article linked above.

“See me, not a sin,” for me, accomplishes everything you need to do when you encounter someone who you believe has suffered some kind of stumble.

The character of Jesus, it seems to me, is a master of making the distinction between the person who has sinned and the offense committed.

If we are supposed to emulate Jesus in our walk, shouldn’t we strive to do the same?

Have you ever felt fat-shamed at a church? If so, how did you handle it?

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 27 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.