Be the Difference – 2014 theme for FC3

Why has the church sought to fit in? Why have we believed that the world knows what is best for us? Why have we believed and listened to the world tell us what our faith lived out should look like? I know, I know we are trying to be relevant and have a voice in the world today. Right? I know, I know today is a different time than when Jesus walked the earth so we need to adjust it. Right? I know, I know…Stop it!!! ENOUGH already!!! Did Jesus lead us in a way that would be ineffective for today? Did HE call us to something that was locked in a time-capsule and therefore it won’t work in today’s society? Was HE so set in HIS ways that He gave us something that wouldn’t work in 2014? Does Jesus not know any better? Did Jesus not know about our world today? No, no, no, no, no…. “Well, wasn’t Jesus all about love. Didn’t Jesus avoid condemning people and instead HE loved them [a.k.a said their lives were okay as they were without HIM] and accepted them [because their DNA said they were stuck in their lifestyle]?” Isn’t that how Jesus really lived and what HE taught? No, no, no, no, no….

So what did Jesus teach us from HIS life? Let’ begin with a blog I read recently…
This blog was from a guy who “couldn’t say “I love the sinner but hate the sin” to his gay brother anymore. A friend wanted to know what I thought about this blog’s message. The blog had some great things for the church to hear and learn. But also the blog had some things I need to be aware of and watch out for. Now there are plenty of areas in which we as followers of Jesus can should grow and get better. Also we can learn from our failures, specifically in the area of homosexuals and our ministering to them properly – as Jesus would want HIS body to do. The author kept pointing out that Jesus didn’t live like we do (the church) or love like we do. (And I agree, HE was perfect; we are growing which we should call “the practice of christianity”.) It also said that HIS (Jesus’) love was right and our love is in the wrong because we judge. The coin phrase he used was one I hear in church circles “Love the sinner, Hate the sin.” The author’s point was that this was never Jesus’ message. HE was called a friend of sinners by the elite religious community. (As they saw themselves! the Pharisees, Sadduccees, etc). Again, good point, true point. Did I mention we need work in these areas?

Then the author used the story of the woman caught in adultery. Those who dragged out the woman caught in adultery spoke about the woman in terms of “such a woman as this”; the author coupled that with the way the church is guilty of the “us” vs. “them” mentality. But in this blog the “them” is only the homosexuals.

Something important to remember about the Bible, it does have a “us versus them” message. The Bible in fact labels “them” as “outsiders”! (Not homosexuals, but those who oppose and reject Jesus’ message and refuse to surrender to Jesus’ way – 100%) However, we can go over-board with this and at times we have. [the “us” vs. “we”) Remember we are in a growing process so we miss the mark many times. Which lead me to my last thought on this…

As the blog continues, the author equates this woman caught in adultery story to the homosexual life, but he (and “they”) missed the point of the Scripture in John 8!!! He (author) says that Jesus loved her [true] and didn’t judge her

!!!, then the blog quotes Jesus saying “Go and sin no more!” The blogger says, “[Jesus] could have said, “You’re a sinner, but I love you anyways. But she knew she was a sinner…” Actually, if we want to split hairs, Jesus didn’t say to the woman that HE loved her! But didn’t HE show her love? And didn’t HE show judgment on all present including the woman when HE said whoever is without sin?

What Jesus did say to the woman was – “STOP SINNING!” And that is the difference, from this woman and the church compared to the general homosexual community. She knew she was a sinner, the blogger acknowledges this; we acknowledge that we are sinners, but the homosexual community does not believe they are sinning. (I am generalizing the homosexuals as they do to Christians.) They believe God does not see homosexuality as a sin. So then the rabbit trails begin of focusing on us being in the wrong. I know we are wrong on so many different levels, I acknowledge that and many other Christians do as well. We don’t justify it. We don’t try to remain the same. We are practicing discipleship – following our Master Jesus. We seek to change, to be better to move towards holiness. The homosexuals want us to embrace their sin as acceptable before God – I won’t! But I will love them as I try to do with all people. Not in a flippant – “Love the sinner, hate the sin” method, but in truth for that is what the bible teaches me to do.

There is much the church needs to learn in loving all people just as Jesus did, but I disagree with the author. I don’t think this is just an attack on only the homosexuals and their lifestyles. This is an attack against all sin! All sin! We must be careful because there are many voices out there in the world telling the church how it should behave and live and treat others. My God, HIS Spirit and HIS word are the first and only ones to which I listen and then I test everything else according to HIS message, not the world’s standards! We should not “fit in”! We should not be silent! This should not be our focus or desire.

Our focus and desire is for all people to spend eternity with a Great, Loving, Compassionate and Forgiving God. That is our motivation. Our motivation is NOT to fight to keep an “us” versus “them” mentality, but to lead all to the Only God who give graciously the Only Salvation to be found. We don’t fight to tell people they are helpless, we seek to help them because someone helped us. We cannot let the world blur our vision and distract us from that goal. When the world talks about our methods and how it is intolerant to their life choices, we must stand on the Truth in Love! The truth is: We all are sinners. Our ways are never acceptable outside of surrendering to Jesus Christ. HE does a work in us never leaving us as we came to HIM. God’s love does not mean that HE accepts our choices and lifestyles that are sinful just because we can’t help ourselves and we live in them. There is much talk out now about how we need to accept more. I don’t want to accept my own sin! I always remember that I am a sinner first before anyone else. That is and should be my funnel through which genuine care, concern and love flows through to those on the “outside”. The world will always have issues with how we do true disciple-living, but this is really a greater issue with the “outsiders” not liking, trusting or believing totally in God’s WHOLE truth. But we must live this true disciple-living correctly to have a real voice. Isn’t that what Jesus taught? “Be the Difference!”

P.S. I would like to hear your thoughts. What do you think?

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