I wrote this post as a guest post for You Have My Word's series, MOSS [Marriage and Other Scary Stuff] and am just mirroring it here on my own blog. I highly recommend you check out the other articles in the series, all by different writers, all of which I respect very much!
This post was actually in the works over a month ago, and it has taken some time to see the light of day, but it's here now!
There has been a theme running through my life for the last couple of months, that my experiences have highlighted. I can’t go into too much detail about them, so as to protect the people they involve, but I’m going to try give you a picture. In no particular order,
- My church here in Orlando has been going through a series which has dealt with tough topics like Sexual Abuse, Sexual Addiction, Homosexuality, and Racism.
- In my small group, there have been some brutally honest and deeply challenging testimonies shared.
- Recently I’ve spoken to friends of mine who have made some pretty big mistakes, and are going through some really tough things.
- I took a trip up to North Carolina to visit my very good friends [practically family] up there. While catching up and hearing news of all the people I know there, it became clear there are some who are in very bad situations. Some through no fault of their own (sickness, misfortune) and some because they went looking for it.
A lot of these things are really tough to take in – a lot of people are a little more sick, a little more broken, or a little more messed up than before. A lot of them have made terrible mistakes. And I can’t help but love them even more. It’s best summed up in the lyrics,
I’m growing fond of broken people, ‘cause I see that I am one of them – MUTEMATH
You see, all those situations have been a shiny mirror to my own life. I am no less messed up than they are. Love is the only response I can have towards them, because that is the response of Christ towards me.
For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die — but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. – Romans 5:7-8
It’s Grace. It’s love completely undeserved. It’s out of this world, and entirely beyond our ability to fully comprehend. It’s also impossible for us to replicate, without the help of Christ. And it’s also the reason, I believe, that Christians are seen as the ultimate hypocrites.
An atheist friend of mine recently posted this picture to Facebook.
I considered sanitizing it, but decided not to. You’ll see why later.
Here’s the thing – I’m sure most Christians are well aware the world views them as hypocrites, but I think few ever stop to really consider why. Sure,
- We preach against sexual immorality, and they see us sleeping around.
- We are all up in arms about drugs and alcohol, and they turn the corner to find us as addicted as they are.
- We turn our noses up at them when they curse, while they watch us curse under our breaths.
…but I’m sure they would be able to forgive all of that. The world knows Christians aren’t perfect, but we go around pretending we are. We’re broken and messed up, just like them.
Deep down inside, we all want to be loved and accepted. That’s why we ran to Christ. We ran to Him, because He loves and forgives us. I think most people could easily forgive all our other hypocrisies if we would only love and accept them too.
Grace is at the very core of our faith. It’s part of the basics. It’s the milk. It’s the baby stuff. It’s the stuff you absolutely have to grasp. None of us deserves what Christ has done for us. Not one. We all have fallen short. I believe when the world sees us run to this love and acceptance, then turn around and throw it in their faces, THAT is the ultimate hypocrisy.
How can we cling to such love, acceptance, and forgiveness, and not extend the same to them? We run to God, because He loves and forgives, yet we can’t love and forgive others?
“Ok, here’s an idea. You love them, like I loved you. Make sure you take care of ! them, and don’t judge them.”
“But what if they’re gay or worship other gods?
What if they sleep around?
What if they’re addicts, or drunkards?
Pornographers, murders, slanderers?
What if they have tattoos and piercings?
What if they curse?
What if they hate us, and spit on your name?
What if they blow us up in the name of their god?
What if they put curses in your mouth?
What if they beat their wives?
What if they [your sin here]?”
“Did I stutter? You love them, like I loved you.”
I am no less sinful. I really struggle in this area of loving, and not judging. Especially when it comes to loving those who are homosexual, or are struggling with homosexuality. Often times I feel like Paul when he said,
…Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. – 1 Timothy 1:15
Of whom I am the worst. Christ came into this world to save me. He loves me, and forgives me. I have to do the same.
“ The more they mess up, the more you love them. You love them. Like I loved you.”
My prayer is that you would read this, and be challenged. Can you love the person who put the F-word on that picture? If you’re in the States, can you love, and not judge George Zimmerman. South Africans, can you love, and not judge Bongi Ngema?
Unless we extend the same love and acceptance to the world, that Christ extended to us, we will never extend His Kingdom. After all,
How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they ! believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?
… and will they ever listen, while we’re still hating them?