My husband and I coined this term just in the last two days. We talked a lot about Jesus’ disdain for lukewarm Christians. The term lukewarm evokes a negative connotation. And maybe that’s from all my years in church. Anytime we heard “lukewarm” it was referring to the church in Laodicea. If you’ve no clue what I’m talking about, in Revelation the church of Laodicea was one of the last of the seven churches John addressed.
“I know your works; you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were either cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”
See the issue with lukewarm Christianity is that as a Christian we know what are sins and to continue sinning when you know better is abhorrent. It’s reprehensible according to God. This is akin to someone knowing adultery is a sin, but continues doing it. Therefore, where someone who isn’t a Christian and doesn’t know better is just ignorant. That’s enough of a theology lesson for the day.
There are many ways to be lukewarm, but today I’m going to touch on loyalty. My husband is the most loyal person I know, but once you break that loyalty he will never forget it. So, what does lukewarm loyalty mean? I’m not sure it really does exist. You’re either loyal or you’re not. But those that have lukewarm loyalty pretend to be loyal to you–to your face–and then behave differently when you’re not around. I’m sure everyone has experienced this. A dear friend of mine told me yesterday, “Sometimes in life, God calls us to relinquish people, places, and things. Sometimes forever and sometimes for a season. No matter who they are.” I was blown away at the thought of this. I’m allowed to relinquish people, things, memories? It sounds so monarchical. But even the thought was freeing. Relinquish them.
My personality tends to try and keep everyone I meet. By nature I am a people pleaser, but in the last few years I’ve faced reckonings that I never thought I’d endure. So I needed to face how keeping these memories particularly was costing me peace and grace. I’ve faced people, even very close to me, that I know have lukewarm loyalty. And that is my gut feeling and actual experiences where I’ve witnessed it. That they’re making fun of you when you’re not around. That they silently enjoy when you fail because it props them up for just a moment. I’m constantly at war in my mind when people make a comment that’s intended to hurt me. I know it, they know it and the wounds appear just as they knew they would. Does it make anyone feel better? This passive aggressive tact? As a mid-30 year old, I am constantly learning how to handle myself in situations like this. Speaking my mind is becoming more frequent, something I’d never do in my 20s. I’m getting off topic. Do we continue putting ourselves in situations with these people? Sometimes we don’t have a choice, well my dear friend would disagree and say, “absolutely you have a choice!”
Regardless how you want to handle it is entirely up to you. You’ll always face people with lukewarm loyalty, but it’s up to you how far you let them take it and how close you let them get. They’re loyal until they’re not.