I am feeling compelled to write this post, because I have been witness to these things over and over again... and it breaks my heart. And I believe it breaks God's too. May you read these words with an open heart, willing to grow and make whatever changes you deem necessary for your life, your behavior, your choices, your voice- for the sake of His Call. I am merely sharing my opinion, through my own experience. Please know, I completely support the fellowship of faithful followers to come together to pray and disciple one another and am not speaking to this. I pray this moves you, to carry His Light in honor of what that really means.
Dear Christians, can I be frank with you?
I don't understand how some of us think we have the right to separate ourselves from the world, but we do. I get that maybe you don't want the worldly things to infiltrate your existence, but the truth is -- they WILL. We are OF this world, and IN this world, and we have a mighty work to do in sharing His Light on all corners of the globe. And your kids? They live in this world. As hard as it is to accept this, they need to learn how to navigate through it and ultimately claim Christ's Sovereignty and practice discernment, not discrimination.
I am trying to teach my kids about God's grace and sharing that with others, whilst training them up to make good decisions that are aligned with God's will. It's not easy. No one said it would be. But I refuse to set a standard for our family that confines us to the 'safety' of ignorance. We need to open our hearts and our minds to understanding people who do not walk our walk... we need to take risks, dig in, open our eyes and scour the vast fields of aching hearts, bitter words, angry eyes, and distorted views, with our hands held open and our arms ready to embrace each child of God, who is deserving of love.
Creating hard-lined impenetrable boundaries and distinct barriers to protect your hearts is exactly the opposite of what God calls us to do. He calls us to have our halos in our outstretched hands for the taking. Our Halos are not ours to protect and certainly not ours to hold high above the crowds. We have not earned them, we have been given them. They are a free gift, and we are called to spread the news of the gospel to EVERYONE. God clearly mentions in the Bible more than once, that we are to walk AMONG the unbelievers and witness to them His very goodness and light.
May I contribute to the dialogue about what is acceptable and NOT acceptable for all Christians? I don't understand the boundaries... because I love a Savior who has none. Where in Christ's walk, was He setting Himself apart from the 'other side' of His Kingdom? He HAD no boundaries. He was IN the wretched world turning water into wine, and hangin' with the hookers. Do you remember those stories? Did they speak to you at all?
Jesus Calls Levi and Eats With Sinners Mark 2:13-17
13 Once again Jesus went out beside the lake. A large crowd came to him, and he began to teach them. 14 As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax collector's booth. "Follow me," Jesus told him, and Levi got up and followed him.
15 While Jesus was having dinner at Levi's house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. 16 When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: "Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?"
17 On hearing this, Jesus said to them, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
When we are saved, it does not mean we are free to judge. God has a lot to say about our judgement, doesn't He? I suppose I'll sum up over 100 verses that speak to this, with one.
"Judge not, that you be not judged."
I hear, I see, I read, and I cringe with utter defeat, when I learn of yet another soul who hates 'those Christians' and has chosen to deny themselves any further investigation into this faith that has only shown them persecution and isolation and rejection. This hurts my heart more than anything, because I believe in a God who loves them just as much as He loves me.
Even I feel unworthy of your love.
How on earth would anyone who is NOT saved by His grace feel worthy of God's love, if they feel condemned by you? How can God use you, if you are constantly criticizing the very people you need to be reaching with His Message?
How do you think God will reach the very ones who need Him most, if you roll your pious eyes and shake your religious head and walk away... ? How do YOU represent our Loving and Merciful Creator?
Please think about it.
Every Christian needs to truly re-assess how they are walkin' the walk... and talkin' the talk. You, in fact are a sinful creature... yes? You are no better than the rest of God's Creation. You are simply saved by His Grace. This does not make you superior, it only brings you eternity. And I wonder what your agenda truly is, when you turn and raise your brow at those who make choices that are less than honorable to God. Does doing that make you feel more competent in His Grace? Does it somehow elevate you to a different level of living?
How does that provide purpose to God's precious plan? Did you learn how Jesus handled it? Are you truly emulating that? How did we become a people that scoffs and shames those who struggle? More importantly, how are you able to testify to your actions and your words in the name of Christ?
Clearly, we have it all wrong.
There is no life untouched by sin. Have you checked yours lately? I believe the truth that all sin is equal. Your sin is no less sinful, than anyone else's. The bible says that, yes?
I share this with the utmost passion to further God's purpose for us all to BE his hands and feet in this world. Do His hands and feet look like yours? Compare them to Jesus. Are they stretching forward with open arms and walking toward the ones who need to be loved and accepted for who they are, exactly how they are? If your voice doesn't profess His limitless love and abundant grace, then what are people hearing?
Your clutter of biblical jargon and pushy conditional expectations eliminates the chance for every precious soul to hold a hope for Heaven.
It is with God's pure love that conversion is set ablaze, and God's almighty breath of grace that inspires transformation. Not your love. Nor your grace.
Please think about it.
Do you scratch your head wondering why the unchurched don't come knocking at the church's door? It's because they so very deeply don't feel worthy, or worse, their experience with believers is that they will never ever be accepted. Why do you think they feel that? They feel that way, because some Christian somewhere did or said something that led them to believe that our 'type' doesn't accept people like their 'type.'
Who is not worthy of Christ's love? Who? WE are representatives of CHRIST. That is a mighty calling. And I am chilled to the bone, in reverence and conviction of such a thing. The impact we have is eternal. This is not about right or wrong. Please stop making it seem like we are right and they are wrong.
Please, I beg you.
I have countless friends who are not believers and I love and care for them JUST as much as my fellow Christians. Many are walking a fine tight rope on the edge of this world's darkness. I reach out my hand, and let go of the Halo. Because my Halo, comes from God, not me. Good Lord, I don't deserve a Halo. So I make sure it is always in my hands and not on my head. It's really not mine to hold on to. It's mine to share.
I leave you with Jesus on the cross... the people of the world have not only made poor decisions, but they have beaten and hung him to die. They beat Him! They ridiculed Him! They tore at His Flesh and gambled for His clothes.
Have you experienced that? Can you even imagine?
What did Christ say? How did He respond?
How did our Savior respond?
"Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." (Luke 23:34).
Take in those very words, each and every time you step away, turn your back, moan or groan or sigh with exasperation over someone else's sin. Take in those very words, when you talk to others who may not live the way you do. Take in those very words, when you begin to walk away, set standards for your friendships, your children, and your engagement in this world. Take in those very words, when you feel compelled to condemn or criticize others. If Jesus can offer up his Murderers for God's forgiveness, while dying on the cross...
I think we can find it in our hearts to take a tiny little itty bitty piece of that love and grace~ and pour it out to those who "know not what they do."
My sisters and brothers in Christ, I beg of you-
Take off your halo, and reach out your hand.
Christ is our Lighthouse, we are carriers of His Light. Let's honor that, shall we?
*For those who would like to read biblical truths regarding these issues, may I suggest you read this post. I am not clean of guilt in this message, I am simply addressing what I believe is God's greatest limit on His Limitless Love. We can do better. I can do better. This post does not speak to the countless Christians who ARE in the world, stretching out their hands and opening up their hearts. If you feel anger or defensiveness after reading this post, please pray about your response. These words were written not to provoke rage or division, but rather to convict and call us to build His Kingdom, the way Jesus asked us to do. I am blessed to belong to a church that swings the doors and their hearts open, to any and all people. I truly believe that we are the bridge to God's Kingdom come. May we all take a closer look at how we are building it.*
The original post can be found at TheMomCafe.com.