Will you humor me for a hot minute? May I get really real? There’s something that has hurting my heart and driving me a bit crazy recently. And until we love, nothing changes.
I see it happening in our country at large, though I need you to know that I am not the person that knows the ins and outs of what is going on. Not at all. Most times, I may see enough headlines to get a very broad idea of the news. At that point, I may or may not read several articles or listen to a few videos to get more info. So when I say I see this in our country, read that through the lens of “she’s not all caught up on the latest ” anything that is hitting the headlines today.
It makes me crazy seeing this in our country, but it makes my skin wriggle, my anxiety wants to skyrocket, and my heart starts crying again when I see people who are believers and love Jesus treating each other this way.
We are SO MUCH BETTER than this!
Or at least Jesus died so that we COULD be better than this.
What are we thinking?
Here it is, this craziness that is killing the impact lovers of Jesus are meant to have –
On what premise do we ostracize each other over the fact that we don’t see things exactly the same? Where did Jesus model this to his disciples? Or where did the apostles teach this to the NT churches they planted?
We get all hoity-toity towards each other, we warn others about each other, we fight and scrap and debate and grab for the upper hand in our arguments about what it should or shouldn’t look like for us to love Jesus.
All the while, there are people who are DYING to know they are loved, that they matter. They are DYING to know the Jesus we say we know; they were MADE to know and love him.
The addictions, dysfunctions, and craziness of their lives are all results of not knowing him.
Believers, lovers of Jesus, WE ARE HIS HANDS AND FEET HERE. WE are supposed to show them how much he loves them. WE are supposed to partner with him to make him and his ways known on the earth.
I submit a question to you – if we are so busy trying to keep all the believers around us in line, discrediting anything that we haven’t experienced or don’t understand, being so busy inside our churches keeping everyone safe from the “bad Christians” or people who don’t know Jesus, how is the world supposed to want what we have??
Let me take it a little deeper. Are you ready for this? How are we any different from the Pharisees of Jesus’ time on earth?
I’m asking it again real slow. How are we any different from the Pharisees of Jesus’ day?
They literally missed Jesus when he was right in front of them because they were so busy keeping their own God-forsaken rules and making sure everyone around them saw them being so righteous. They missed Jesus because they were so focused on what they thought they knew, but they were dead wrong. DEAD WRONG.
What are we doing?
Jesus’ last words to his disciples were these: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” That’s our mandate – to go, make disciples, and baptize them.
As to our disagreements on what our lives should or shouldn’t look like, I think Paul has some great advice that we should implement. The hot topics of the church in his day were whether or not men should be circumcised and if it was a big deal to eat meat that had been sacrificed to idols. Paul gives direction on meat sacrificed to idols in multiple places, and it all has to do with being considerate of the people around you and what they believe. To the Corinthian church he says that “we (as believers) know there’s really no such thing as an idol that meat really can be offered to, because we know there is only one God. But you still need to be considerate of the people around you.” In other words, I think he was saying to be smart and understanding and to represent Jesus well.
As to the circumcision debate, his counsel was this: “Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing. Keeping God’s commandments is what matters.”
The NT church was tempted to become distracted by the current religious issues of the day instead of taking Jesus to all the nations and making disciples of them. I don’t think it’s any different today. We’re still tempted to get so hung up and focused on the current issues that the world has no desire to have what we have. We have only a slightly different brand of chaos than they already have. Why would they want to exchange chaos they know for a chaos that says they love each other, but anyone with any perception can see that we’re not THAT great at loving each other right now?? Why would they want what we’ve got??
We have started believing that believers who don’t see things exactly like we do need to be avoided. They are dangerous, and we need to discredit them. It’s like we think that Jesus needs to be defended, that he’s not big enough or true enough or awesome enough to show us truth when we are believing lies. We don’t want to extend grace to anyone whom we disagree with, and, dear ones, that is exactly how the Pharisees acted. Exactly. Jesus didn’t have much grace for them in their angry self-righteousness.
Until we love…
Lovely people, I KNOW this isn’t who we want to be. I know that we want to be better than this. I know that deep in our heart of hearts, we deeply want to follow Jesus and take him to the world.
I know we do.
But I think we need to take a hard look at our own attitudes and how we think about the world around us.
Until we love, we have no influence.
Until we love, we have no right to speak and expect to be heard.
Until we love, dear ones, until we love, we have nothing.
Jesus is love. Jesus values women caught in adultery. He values lepers and blind men. Jesus even loves rich young men who opt not to follow him.
Jesus values people whether or not they are living well. He values them.
He values us even when we majorly mess up showing the world what he is like. He hasn’t kicked us off the planet yet, so I think he still believes the church can get to the place of showing him to the world.
Will we take our focus off the craziness of all the things we disagree on and put our focus back onto Jesus? Will we choose to love well both believers we don’t agree with and unbelievers who desperately need to know his love through us?
Will we? Let’s remember that until we love, we have nothing.