|Photo Credit: Damien du Toit|
The events of the last week have brought much passionate discussion and intense debate. Both the rainbow flag and the Rebel flag have been critiqued. I have remained relatively quiet on both topics. I have explained what I understand about various sides of the issues to those who were asking and open to discussion. So relatively quiet. I have had no Facebook statuses or pictures to declare my opinion. However, I do not live under a rock. I have read what many have had to say. A few of those people have had thought provoking posts. One of those posts got me to thinking.
What if I have misunderstood my mission as a Christian for years?
I have felt as a Christian it is my mission to tell people the right way to live in an effort to proclaim the Gospel, lead people to Jesus, and bring glory to God. I try to do it with genuine love and gentleness, but none the less I felt that is what I was to do in my personal relationships with others. What if that isn't the way I should be proclaiming the Gospel, leading people to Jesus, and bringing glory to God? I know Micah 6:8, act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with my God. I know John 15:12, love each other as God has loved me. I know Matthew 22:37-39, love God with all my heart, my soul, my mind, and my strength. and love my neighbor as I love myself. Those seem pretty clear about the mission of a Christian. Love.
What if I am supposed to love everyone and let Jesus deal with their sins? What if the way I bring glory to God and lead people to Jesus and proclaim the Gospel is to love people like Jesus loved?
I'm not saying to give people a pass on their sins. Jesus didn't do that. He told the woman at the well about her sins and proclaimed himself as the Messiah. He told the woman who was caught in adultery to go and sin no more. He didn't tell either of them that it was okay to keep doing what they had always done. He did confront them with their sin, but he did it in such a way that encouraged them to change. He only spoke the woman at the well about her sins AFTER they had begun talking about spiritual issues. In the case of the adulteress, he sent the condemning crowd away from her and spoke to her one on one about her issues. So maybe I've been doing it wrong. Maybe I'm supposed to love and let Jesus work on the heart. Then if someone comes to me and asks about living like Jesus, then I discuss in gentleness and love their sins and the way to be free of them. Maybe I need to stop thinking "Look what this world is coming to" and instead think like the early church "Look what has come into the world." Expect the world to sin and be messed up and love them anyway because Jesus has come to take care of the messy sinful heart issues. I'm just here to love and only after seeking more, then am I to tell people the right way to live.
As the pastor said this morning, lost people are going to act like lost people, so there is no reason to be angry or judgmental about it. Christ is sufficient to cover those issues with those people in His time. I must try to live like Jesus, not endorsing, supporting, or condoning the sin, but not being angry or judgmental about it either. Love them and let Jesus deal with the sin.
In answer to my question in the title, Christians are supposed to love first.
NOTE: If you feel the need to discuss my personal opinions on either of the two major issues mentioned at the outset of this post, feel free to message me privately and we can discuss it. My personal opinions do not need to be aired publicly. Thank you.