The Message We are Conveying to the World
Before I begin the message that is weighing heavily on my heart, I want to admit that I am guilty of the very same form of hypocrisy that I am about to address. We as Christians are children of God, and when we are healthiest, we are full of love, compassion, and a burning desire to reconcile sinners to Christ. That’s the ideal we should be striving for, but instead, we often forget to step down from our thrown of judgement– that is, our “high and mighty horse”, move an inch outside of our tiny little Christian bubbles and empathize with people. We are children of the most high God who partake in the sweetness of a relationship with our savior. We are not here to project an image of complete perfection, where we have realized the highest peak of morality, and proceed to demand that if the world would ever seek to behold God from that same mountain on which we stand, then they had better get right with God. That is simply not grace. It is only half of the character of God, and an incomplete image of his character can create a number of warped beliefs about who God is.
“The Most important thing about a man is what comes to his mind when he thinks about God.”
–A.W. Tozer (A man of God)
Do we believe in the kindness and the faithfulness of God? Or are we concerned that if we do not tell people what they ought to change about themselves, he is not going to meet them where they are? Do we fret that they will slip from his hand and darkness will prevail if we are not the voice of God in their lives?
“His kindness leads us to repentance.” Romans 2:4
Here is some food for thought: A heart that is not prepared to receive the truest of truths will not receive it more readily, when it is drilled in intrusively and abrasively. It will only harden more. It will learn that truth is abusive, domineering, and will shrink from the things of God and turn to darkness because it feels comfortable. It is less threatening. I know that we as Christians mean well, but God has been revealing to me that he really does love the world, and that we as Christians need to see ourselves as servants.
“For the son of man came not to be served, but to serve and give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mathew 20:28)
We, though being unworthy, were redeemed by a humble king who “for the joy set before him, endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God (Romans 12:2). We are not judges. We are not here to project an image of perfection, but to share the good news that “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).” We are utterly wretched, and the world needs to know that we have been loved despite that, redeemed, and transformed.
Realizing My Own Mistakes:
I am most pleased to provide an example of how this phenomenon has played out in my personal life:
I have a colleague who I became very close friends with, and by the way I don’t recommend becoming so tied at the hip with colleagues. It gets to be messy. That aside, this beautiful and very genuine human being happens to be particularly liberal, which I don’t typically mention politics in my blog posts, but that is an important note to take, because people whose ideology leans strongly left, tend to possess beliefs that strongly contradict those of traditional Christianity; for example the support of abortion.
His ways are higher than our ways…..Isaiah 55:8-9
I believe that God arranged this friendship because, once she offered to be my ride home from work, we got deep into conversations about God, and I quickly learned that she had been wounded by a campus ministry I was once part of called Chi Alpha. Certain well-meaning individuals in leadership had drowned her in suggestions that she needed to lay aside her concerns for the environment and animals, because they are of lesser importance than religion. They told her that her heart for justice in humanity, and in the animal kingdom was not necessary to speak of, and completely diminished something that she has dedicated her life to protecting, for her own moral purposes.
Why it Matters:
Upon learning this, I prayed to God and asked him, “What do you mean by placing her in my life. We’ve had similar experiences with rejection by Christians, what do I do?” He simply told me just to be a friend. It was that simple.
Why this? Why Now?
Here is where I went wrong. I was her friend, but I often engaged in arguments about human children being more important than animals, and pointed out the hypocrisy of her support of abortion, but strong desire to preserve the lives of animals.
I still believe that what I was saying was right, but what God has shown me recently is that his love is deeper than skewed political ideologies. He is concerned more with her soul, and with her feeling loved, than with me getting my conservative Christian point across.
He is gentle, and he KNOWS what she has been through, and the entire sequence of events that have resulted in all her beliefs. He sees the pain and her aching heart that cares for people who feel they have no voice or rights in the United States. At her core, she simply needed to be heard, and to experience validation from a person who represented a group of people who had previously wounded her
God Loves Me Too:
God was slow in showing me this, because my motives were entirely wholesome, and I did not necessarily do anything wrong. It has simply been a learning curve for me to know not to magnify the smaller things, but to focus on the major things. The primary thing is always for the light and love of Christ to be projected. From there the Holy Spirit is able to minister into, and correct the smaller things. In the light of his love, sin dissolves into nothing. It looses it’s power.
Let’s Nurse More Wounds–It might Heal us all
Have we forgotten that the world is fallen, and that sin encroaches upon the lives of even the most wholesome of people? We should not direct our anger at the people, but Satan who is scheming restlessly and “seeking whom he may devour.”
I believe that we each need to have more grace with not only sinners but with each other. Christians should be allowed to be broken, have seasons of depression and just be without answers. I’ll tell you that no group of people has been harder on me about mental illness than Christians. My depression has spiraled seven fold, due to feelings of inadequacy and like I’m just not Christian enough because I feel like I am falling apart.
Let’s stop expecting too much of each other and spread the love. Let love prevail!!!
Who should we really be angry with?
Check it out:
“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for puling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. ( 2 Corinthians 12:3-5).
What do you believe about God? Are you afraid of grace? Grace is not weak, it is capable of miraculously changing lives and breathing the spirit into that which is dead. Who are we projecting our frustrations on? Is it the wanderer who does not know the truth from a lie, but seeks to do what he knows to be good, or is it against the devil and his wicked schemes?
Let us Not Forget the Power of Grace
” For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9.
This is is such a precious truth. There is nothing sweeter than the precious blood of Jesus and nothing more enjoyable than his love. Allow your heart to soften, so that when you speak to this dying world, you may do so with speech that is full of Grace. Die to yourself and your concepts of how life should be, and by filled with Christ. He gives life. He is life.