If Christians actually modeled intimacy in singleness and marriage and not fake pictures of happiness and how-tos on managing loneliness, then maybe people would want to know the Christ that we profess and the marriage He defines.
We are clanging gongs and cymbals that are a nuisance to the world, and not an oasis in the desert. We are a loud group of individuals shouting to non-believers, the truth we think we know instead of a community committed to knowing God and one another intimately in an ever-deepening union with Him through Jesus and the abiding of Holy Spirit. We are exclusionary and unattractive instead of exclusive and inviting. This is not the Church that God intended.
We are unable to bear witness to Christ out of our humanness because we're not able to accept that Jesus is the messiah who saved us and not we through our rule-following that saved ourselves. The church constantly calls for repentance, but we have forgotten how to confess that we are broken messed up people, unworthy of judging and ostracizing others. And if it had not been for the grace of God we would be outside of His presence now and for eternity. It is as if Christians think we have our hands on the velvet rope to the kingdom of God when it could not be farther from the truth. We are wretched people -- jealous, greedy, judgmental, sexually deviant and prideful. There is nothing good in me or anyone else on the planet. But because of Jesus we are made blameless in the sight of God, accepted because we have been washed clean by the blood of the lamb. It is He who tore the veil and tore down the dividing wall of hostility. Not me, not any leader or pastor in the past, present or future of mankind. And because of this unmerited favor, we obey the God who loves and live accordingly to His will and not our own.
Instead of calling for America to repent and shouting for revolution "out there" because of the Supreme Court. Perhaps there should be a revolution in our households of faith and the hearts in pews every week. We have no integrity on sexuality because we won't hold those who abuse others accountable. We consume pornography and divorce, commit adultery, and have pre-marital sex at the same rates or higher than non-believers. We have no standing on gender because we can't celebrate women and men and are intellectually lazy when engaging the subject in scripture. We have no pulpit to preach from on racial reconciliation because we won't acknowledge institutionalized racism, the burning of church and sit in segregated pews on Sundays. Believers and unbelievers alike that are women, people of color, poor, unemployed, mentally ill, and otherwise hurting and imperfect find no universal welcome from God's people but can be sure to find more condemnation than kindness in our midst. Lord have mercy.
I am comforted in this, John 3:16 begins God, so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son. He did not send Mike Huckabee, Martin Luther King, Martin Luther or Mother Teresa or me or you. He sent His Son, that whosoever believes and trusts in Him would not perish but have everlasting life. Praise God for that! It was, is and forever will be His station to save the world. Hallelujah!
The next verse is where we draw our model for humility and gentleness. It is the next verse that gives us reason to love and obey this suffering servant savior. John 3:17 says, for God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. Jesus did quite a few things, but He did not condemn. And there is no one more qualified to do so than the Son of Man Himself. So if Jesus did not shout down words of condemnation on the woman at the well, Pilate, the lepers, or blind Bartameus, who are we to preach a gospel of condemnation and shout, picket and protest the LGBT community? It is the Gospel of Grace and Salvation through Jesus that is good news. It is freedom from sin through Jesus that is the cure for what ails us. Not the garbage that fills mass media and social media circus and gets ratings on cable television.
Would we, the people of God, repent of our wicked ways, receive His forgiveness and step into the role of evangelists and preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ in word and deed with power. Would we step out of our political and religious affiliation that are unworthy of our allegiance and cannot bear the weight of our identity. Would we truly be ambassadors of a different kingdom, embrace the ministry of reconciliation to which we have been called, and love those to whom we have been sent because He first loved us. Oh God, let it be so. Amen.
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