Lately, I’ve noticed something. For a while, I have. It isn’t a specific person that I’m thinking of, it’s a certain behavior and/or point of view.
I’ll start by saying this-when I came to Christ, there were a lot of things my salvation was not because of.
It wasn’t because I was afraid of going to hell. (Side note: I’ve told people that before and their response is a look of shock. “Wow, I definitely was afraid of going to hell so I became a Christian.”)
It wasn’t became someone bashed me for my sins and told me how evil I was as person, either. It wasn’t forceful, it wasn’t rude, and it wasn’t because I felt ashamed.
When I came to Christ, His love drew me in. A love that accepted me the way I was, faults and all, but a love that loved me too much to let me stay the way I was.
When I became saved, my life didn’t change in an instant. As I grew to learn who God was and spend time in the word and in prayer, I began to know Him. And as I spent that time learning, I began to change. My heart changed first, from the inside out. It took time, and I’m still a work in progress. I’m still a sinner BUT I’m His, and I know that He’ll never give up on me. He’s firm but forgiving. He’s loving but just. He is patient and kind, not rooting for us to mess up, but advocating for us in heaven.
This is the LOVE that drew me in.
This is also the love that will draw in others.
In contrast to all I’ve said, I see a lot of hate today from Christians. I see an insane intolerance for anyone not like them. Not only do they refuse to tolerate the sin, but they refuse to tolerate the person as a whole. I see Christians shaming others and speaking of how disgusting people are.
As if we all don’t need God equally, right? As if the sin of others is a bigger deal than the sin in our own life? As if our sin isn’t as bad.
This is a passage from Mark.
13 Once again Jesus went out beside the lake. A large crowd came to him, and he began to teach them. 14 As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” Jesus told him, and Levi got up and followed him.
15 While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. 16 When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
17 On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
The Bible’s way of discussing how Jesus was with sinners is much different than the way many Christians respond today. Today, Christians can be disrespectful, mocking, hateful and shame people. But did Jesus do things like that?
It says right here he had dinner with them. He conversed with them. He loved them. He treated them as people, and not as something disgusting. He didn’t put the fear of hell into them, because He knew that fear of hell doesn’t mean that one loves God, it just means one is afraid of hell.
Jesus is looking for a true conversion; a heart change.
I came across this song recently and it is fitting for this conversation. It’s called “See The Love” by The Brilliance. You can listen to it here. But, since I’m sure many won’t have time, here are some of my favorite lyrics.
“Every day, we go to war again
We assume we know so much more than them
Before we hear what they have to say
Headline breaks, and we start to hate again
Calling them names again
We give our peace away
I hope they see it, ‘cause I wanna see it
I hope we believe it
I wanna see, I wanna see the love
All around you”
Show your love, believer. Look for opportunities to love, not to hate.
Thanks for reading. Be a blessing, even to those who believe, look, and act differently than you.