Here’s my question about this activity…how’s that working for us?
And why aren’t we wondering why most people don’t seem to have a problem with Jesus but they have a very low view of Christians?
This honestly perplexes me…just how do we expect the world to behave? Like they’re not sinners?
We love to quote Jesus chastising the Pharisees, turning over the money changer’s tables, but we seem to forget who He was chastising.
So, here’s my question…
WHO did Jesus chastise and to WHOM did He show mercy and compassion?
For that matter, how many verses can you give where the New Testament writers told their followers to make the Roman Empire behave?
I’ll save you the trouble…you won’t find any.
Neither will you find Jesus yelling at the Romans, condemning prostitutes, or turning the tax collector’s tables over. His wrath was directed at those who thought they represented God–the religious people of His day.
Beloved, the biggest hindrance to God’s kingdom advancing is not the world, it’s a religious spirit.
So, if you feel compelled to point your finger anywhere…a good place to start is in the mirror.
The religious “right” of Jesus’ day weren’t representing Him because they didn’t know God’s love, so they didn’t really know God.
They confused religious zeal with God’s will. And because of this, they actually worked against the Father’s initiatives.
For God is love, and when we don’t demonstrate it, we only demonstrate that we know nothing…actually, nothing more than a lot of noise (1 Cor.13:1-3; 1 John 4:8).
We love to applaud those who “preach hell hot”and say a hearty ‘amen’ when they shoot down the “reprobate” of Romans chapter one, but we won’t point this same gun at ourselves with Romans chapter two.
We simply seem oblivious to the fact that Paul, while not condoning the sinful behavior, was actually reprimanding our selectively condemning, self-righteous, double-standard form of Christianity.
Here’s what Paul said to those who thought they had the right to demonize anyone who practiced such things (bold-text added for emphasis).
“Therefore you have no excuse,
everyone of you who passes judgment,
for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself;
for you who judge practice the same things.” (Rom.2:1)
He was trying to show them that they weren’t defending God’s standard for holiness, they were proving their own ignorance of the depths of His kindness, tolerance, and patience toward them, as well as toward these people.
“Or do you think lightly of the riches of
His kindness and tolerance and patience,
not knowing that the kindness of God
leads you to repentance?” (Rom.2:4)
Kindness, tolerance and patience comes first; repentance comes afterward.
Does that mean that I’m advocating ignoring sin? No, I’m advocating the only thing that will ever make people change–encountering God’s outrageous unconditional love and scandalous transforming grace.
Does that mean we can’t have a voice in our culture? That we can’t be salt and light to the dark world around us? Actually, I’m saying the opposite.
We ARE salt and light and have a voice when we represent the Father’s heart of kindness, tolerance and patience.
And those aren’t my nice sentiments, they are God’s.
We rightly represent God’s kingdom when we represent the Father’s love for the people of the world, a love that made Him bankrupt heaven for us when we didn’t want Him at all (John 3:16; Rom.5:8).
If He loves the world this much, why do we make them our enemy?
Does that mean that God won’t judge sin. Certainly not! There will come a time when sinners who have not received Love will be judged.
He’s just not judging them right now.
How do you feel about that? Does that mess with your religious dogma? Right now, even the most wicked sinner receives God’s undeserved kindness, tolerance and patience.
“The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness,
but is patient toward you,
not wishing for any to perish
but for all to come to repentance.” (2 Pet.3:9)
Paul said it this way…
“For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside?
Do you not judge those who are inside?” (1 Cor.5:12)
We see Jesus’ followers in the New Testament judging themselves and showing grace and mercy to the wicked world around them. We see Christians today wanting grace and patience for themselves while pronouncing judgment on everyone else.
Can anyone see something wrong with this picture?
Can we just lay down all our frustration and anger with what’s wrong with the world and put on love?
And can we please stop needlessly becoming the object of scorn because of our ignorance of God’s unconditional love? Our misguided zeal is not doing Jesus any favors here.
And can we let the Father open our eyes to this “love blindness” and see the great undiscovered treasure that He is passionately wanting to reveal in them through us?
Beloved, this is our mission…the GOOD news!
“…And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him.
For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself,
no longer counting people’s sins against them.
And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation.
So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us.
We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” (2 Cor.5:18-20)
Keep it simple. Show them how the Father loves them and let Him clean them up.
It’s not that hard.
For those of you who wish to continue thinking that trying to make world behave by telling them what’s wrong with them is effective, here’s a video for your edification…or if not, for your entertainment. Either way, you are loved!