Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Christianity: You're doing it wrong.

Find me an example in scripture where Jesus yelled at, chastised, condemned, or even spoke anything but love to a sinner?  Where does Jesus take a nonbeliever doing something wrong and rake them over the coals (a whip, maybe....)?

"Don't emasculate my Jesus!"
On the contrary, Jesus was a formidable figure (you know... God), in your face, stand his ground, and down right antagonistic at times.  But you know who he was that way with?  THE RELIGIOUS PEOPLE for acting like idiots towards everyone else!
It was when disciples wanted to be more important than they were, when they wanted to make things about them, or when religious people started pointing fingers at others, not associating with sinners, condemning people (even when it would seem obvious that they were safe in doing so) that Jesus got angry and "preachy".

The Samaritan woman at the well (John 4)?  This was someone who religious people wouldn't be caught dead talking to.  Jewish people would trek miles out of their way just so they didn't even have to set foot in the same town as "dirty Samaritans".  Jesus makes a point to blow as many social rules away that he can in this encounter and then addresses this woman, who has had 5 husbands and is now living with another man who's not even one of her 5 husbands, with LOVE and grace.
Did you catch the part in the story where Jesus nails her on being an adulterer?  No?  Well, he sure put her on blast for 5 divorces!
No?  Nothing?  Nothing.
He showed her love and another way -- That a new, better life was available was what was important, not punishment for the current or the past.  When one sees love, mercy, forgiveness, grace, and abundant life, they don't need to be condemned for the prison they've been living in, they WANT that new life, they desperately need that Good News.

Then there's the adulteress woman in John 8.  She was caught in the act of adultery.  That would be bad now, I don't have to tell you what it was like 2,000 years ago.  Jesus protects her, points out that everyone in the crowd that's accusing her (religious people) are in the same boat, and then he tells her "hey, where did everybody go?  Is no one going to condemn you?  Then neither do I.  Go and sin no more"  Take the new life!
You see, in this instance, the crowd wanted to condemn her but couldn't, Jesus had had the authority, to condemn her ("he who is without sin cast the first stone") but didn't.

Jesus says "A new command I give you:  Love one another.  As I have loved you, so should you love one another.  By this all people will know you are my disciples:  by the way you love one another"

"Let him who is without sin cast the first stone"

"What good is it to love those who love you back?  THE WORST OF PEOPLE DO THAT."

"Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you"

"Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.  Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God Is Love."

"Don't pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults - unless, of course, you want the same treatment.  That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging.  It's easy to see a smudge on your neighbor's face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own.  Do you have the nerve to say 'let me wash your face for you' when your own face is distorted by contempt?  It's this whole traveling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part.  Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to you neighbor"

"blessed are the meek... blessed are the merciful....blessed are the peacemakers"

"Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive.  And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.  And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body.  And be thankful."

On.  And on.  And on.

There seems to be a theme here....

So, if your "Christianity" forces you to hate someone, calls on you to judge someone by pointing out how awful they are, gives you authority to condemn, has you angrily yelling at people of the world, has you praying for ill will or destruction of someone, demands that you not forgive someone because it would compromise your moral obligations as a Christian, frees you to not love Anyone, or makes you a better Christian for not associating with a certain group of people,
then, brothers and sisters, YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG.

Is there such thing as sin?  Of course.  Are we, as broken, imperfect, sinning Christians called to live differently?  You bet.  That's why Jesus held his disciples to such high standards-because they knew better.  The world, the ones who didn't yet know Christ, can not be held to the standards of Jesus Christ if they don't know Jesus Christ.
The disciples and all who Jesus called didn't give up everything to follow Jesus because his opening conversation with them was a diatribe about their horrible sinful ways, about all the terrible things they had done, the horrible people they were, and how they would Always sin and doubt no matter how much he worked with them - the came because he said "come".  Jesus knew it all.  He knew that woman had already been through 5 husbands, and he pointed it out so she would know he knew, and then never said another word about it.  The point was that he Did know all the horror and wanted her anyway.

Romans 5:8 says (in my words) - you want a definition of love?  Jesus saw me, a sinner who didn't love him, who didn't care about him, who didn't even know he existed.  He knew that I was royally screwed up and no matter what he did, no matter how long I lived, I would Never figure it all out, I would never get it right, and he bought me anyway.  Jesus paid for me, in blood, just so the broken mess I am would have the Chance, the option, the choice to spend eternity with him.

If that's not the message we're sending, if that's not what people learn about Christ from our life, our walk, our stances, our words, then we are doing it wrong.

L1:L2 = Love God:Love Others.

With love, humility, conviction, and as a #Note2Self,


1 comment:

  1. This right here is exactly right: "The world, the ones who didn't yet know Christ, can not be held to the standards of Jesus Christ if they don't know Jesus Christ."
    They have to be loved on first, then presented the gospel, then have the sin addressed. In that order.