Monday, April 16, 2012

Whom would Jesus hug?

A friend recently shared with me a blog about a group of Christians who did something very radical.  That always gets my interest going, especially if it's the sort of radical thing that Jesus might do.

"Occupy Golgatha: Saving the 100%"

In this case, they attended a gay pride parade to apologize for all the hatred poured out against homosexuals by some within the Church.  It struck me as a very Christ-like response.  Because of their Christ-like love, something incredible happened.  People responded.

If you don't think Jesus would hug this guy, then get your Bible ready.

Here's what I'm not trying to do:  I'm not trying to redefine what the scriptures say about homosexuality.  It's pretty clear, just as it is about other sins like gluttony, arrogance, pride, greed, and hatred.

Here's what I am trying to do:  I'm trying to start a conversation about priorities that are based on solid Biblical teaching.  These priorities are spelled out clearly and repeated over and over to try to get them through our thick skulls.

When most Christians encounter a homosexual, they assume that this person's biggest problem is homosexuality.  If only that could be "cured" then the person would be OK.  In fact, the same mistake is made about  Muslims, alcoholics, or any other group that doesn't crowd into Church on Sunday morning. But, even if these people got past their "problem" would they be right with God?  Isn't it about more than that?  I submit to you, gentle reader, that we have confused the Great Physician with Dr. Phil.

Nice guy, good Doctor, can't save souls

You see, what we all need is Jesus.  Please don't ever lose sight of that simple truth.  He gave himself to die on a cross so that we would understand love, mercy, grace, and forgiveness.

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.

Love must be our first response.  If we try to preach to people that we aren't willing to love, it's only noise.  If you can't love, the Bible says, your good advice is just meaningless noise.

Love is patient, love is kind. 

 I looked for "Love is tough" and it wasn't on the list.  Maybe there's a time for that, but before we decide what love ought to be, should we not practice what God says it should be?  Why do we think we get to rush past "patient" and "kind?"  How can we expect people to take our Bible seriously if we are not willing to do so?

Very entertaining, poor theology

Great sermons will not bring people to know Jesus.  Lectures on morality will not lift the heavy burden of a troubled heart.  Judgement is not ours to give to the world.  Let's be real, is any of us without sin?  If the Church is anything, it is a place for sinners to find grace.

After all, is it my business to judge outsiders? You are to judge those who are in the community, aren't you? God will judge out­siders. 

We're supposed to give love first.  I lay a challenge before you, reader, one that I will take up myself.  If there is a person in your life, or a group of people, to whom you have shown judgement but not love, make that right.  It may mean an apology, perhaps even a hug.  Don't waste another day moralizing instead of loving.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

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