I don’t want to discuss what one man (who is human, like the rest of us, needing grace like the rest of us) said in an interview for GQ. I’m not sure I could say anything that would be productive and we should be slow to speak so that we don’t use unwise words. I do, however, want to talk about some of the responses I’ve read both on Facebook and in news articles that are coming from people who wear the name Christian. Some of the comments I’ve read have been so harsh and rude and hateful that they have made me sick to my stomach for the rest of the day. The fact that we are up in arms about all of this and have barely acknowledged the amazing woman (Widow of teacher slain in Libya forgives husband’s murderers.) who recently showed Christ’s love makes me want to weep. I think we may have fallen into a trap here. Sharing on Facebook pages over and over again that “we are digging our heels in the sand and it’s too bad if it hurts your feelings because the truth is the truth no matter HOW it’s delivered” while simultaneously ignoring a story that could have beautifully portrayed God’s perfect love and mercy to those who do not know Him: I believe that really pleases the devil and I’m pretty torn up about it.
We would do well to just follow Christ’s lead in all of this. Remember that, during His time on earth, He saved His harsh words for the religious. Indeed, it was the people of the church with whom he spoke sternly with. The Pharisees, in particular, were challenged multiple times by Jesus in a way that was bold and sometimes even “in your face.” He challenged the condition of their hearts and even called them hypocrites. There are so many times that it is taboo to call out another Christ-follower, even if done in love, because we are “judging.” In fact, when we make the agreement to follow Christ, we join a body of believers who should keep one another accountable.
But for the unchurched, for those without the law, He chose a different tone. And I believe that was on purpose.
The woman who was on the verge of being stoned for her indiscretions…”Let He without sin cast the first stone.” He rescued her first…He showed her His goodness, His perfect love and THEN, after that, He said “Go and sin no more.”
The woman at the well at the hottest part of the day. She was a Samaritan, which were a people who were rejected by the Jews at the time. Not only rejected by the Jewish people, she was also rejected by her own people, the Samaritans, before of her life choices. For this reason, she waited until the hottest part of the day to draw water from the well. She didn’t want to deal with people and their judgement. Where Jesus could have spoken to her in a confrontational way and told her why her life was sinful with no apologies about tone or word choice (because, hey, the truth is good no matter what words you pick to portray it, right?) He instead offered her a gift. Grace. Kindness. Helpful and loving words. Living water. The kind of fulfillment that is worth more than a physical quenched thirst. The kind of fulfillment so deep that you will never “thirst” again.
It was love and compassion first with the unchurched. He knew the thing that we need to hold on to as Christians….that you can’t fully experience and grasp this kind of love and mercy and it not compel you to make change. You can’t experience a true relationship with Jesus and stay the same. You will change. His love changes us at our core. And it is His love that is enough. Every. Single. Time.
May we be unashamed of the Gospel. May we never shy away from the truth. May we remember that Jesus warned that His truth will look like foolishness to the world and that we will be hated, as Christians, for our faith. But may we remember that if we speak truth, but with our actions and our choice of words reflect hate, that we have not portrayed truth. If we quote scripture but treat unbelievers as though they are less than us, we are missing the point. They are our brothers and sisters and we should care about their souls. May we constantly be asking ourselves, “Are we praying for those who do not know Jesus? Are we loving them? Are we showing them with our actions that they are perfectly loved by God?”
I am a Mommy. And I love my babies fiercely. So if you tell me that you love me so much, but you are unkind to my children or speak harshly to my children (even if you are telling them the truth) we are going to have a problem. Because those are my babies. And you are not showing love to me if you are not also showing love to them. May we remember that God is our father, and regardless of how we feel about those who do not serve Him, He loves them while they are yet sinners. The same way He loved us while we were still sinners. And if He loves them, and we claim to love Him, we should be careful how we treat them. May we speak the truth with a heart of love and not with a heart of pride or entitlement. Let us not build a greater wall of anger and hurt between Christian and non-Christian. Jesus is, after all, a friend of sinners. And He loved and embraced us when we came to Him with all our mess.
“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,but do not have love, I gain nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:1-3)
Let’s choose love.
Until the next blog…be blessed.