Over the past couple of months I have seen friends frustrated with Christians. Some who have grown up in church refuse to return. It saddens me to realize that my title as a Christian is blemished to the point where others can’t experience the same inner joy I experience as a result of my faith, all because of how other Christians are treating them. Unfortunately, people have a legitimate reason for their dislike for Christians.
Our claim to be a Christian does not mean that we are the judge of others. Christians are hurting the hearts of those who have made choices in their lives that do not make sense to our own value system or against God’s design. Christians, in the same manner are hurting other Christians to where they hang onto their faith, but give up on the community of Christian fellowship. Daily I pray for an explanation as to why this needs to be.
God has made it clear that to murder and inappropriate sexual acts (the two prominent issues) along with the many other classes of sin are against His will. Yet, in the New Testament, Jesus shares in Mark 12:30-31 “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all they strength; this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is no other commandment greater than these.” God’s will is that we love one another.
Jesus has made it quite clear that we are to love Him unconditionally, yet with this love, we are to love ourselves along with loving others. How we treat others displays how much we love God. When we deny love to those who make choices that are sin in nature, we are actually showing our true love for God. We are also showing the lack of love for ourselves. If we can’t love ourselves, then how is it possible to love another? Let me clarify: If all we do is pass judgment on those who don’t follow one’s beliefs, make statements that are hurtful, ignore and/or gossip, then our classification as a Christian becomes null and void.
For me, a Christian is one who takes on the shield of Christ, accepting the forgiveness and love that God provides in order that we can be free from our debt of sin. It is also an act of love in how we treat others. Let’s face it, we all sin daily. I know that I do, and it definitely is not intentional nor in my character trait I would want to flaunt. My sin can sometimes have an impact on others, while other times it is in my thought life, which neither is favorable in God’s eyes. I am not alone with this problem.
So, is it really fair for me, a proclaimed Christian (sinner), to stand back and judge the one who chooses to abort their baby, their choice in sexual orientation, etc.? God clearly states in Matthew 7 that we are not to judge. This is His responsibility. Our responsibility is to treat them the way Christ treated all sinners. To share our faith in love and acceptance is more important than trying to force someone to change out of humiliation. When we love unconditionally, talk openly without condemnation, we allow God to bless the relationship.
The one sin I have the hardest time embracing is that of a liar. The liar creates a wall of deceit creating the inability for others to trust. In addition, it creates a crooked path in life where the person has a need to hide the truth, making sure everything they say fits in with the original lie, while overcompensating in other areas to make them seem more acceptable. Yikes…who wants to live like that? But, despite this action, I noticed that liars have a need for attention, in which I have no knowledge of their past to understand. Although I am not responsible for their action(s), I am responsible for my own. I can love and be kind to them, but my inability to trust makes it difficult to have a positive relationship with them.
I am so thankful I never was in the position to abort a baby. I adore the miracle of life from the time of conception to its birth. I treasure the memories of carrying and feeling life within me to the moment they entered the world. The discomfort of birth was minimized the moment the warm life of love was put into my arms and upon my chest. Tears of joy overfilled my heart realizing how blessed we were as a couple to have such a gift to cherish. In addition, in a work capacity, I have been equally blessed to participate in seeing babies brought into this world. There were moments where the tender little hand would grab onto my finger, making me cherish again, the blessing of a child. Each time I participated in helping to bring a child into this world, my heart would leap with joy as my eyes filled with tears, experiencing another one of God’s miracles entering the world.
Yet, everyday there are women who choose to abort their children. I do not know their reasons, I do not understand their past, but I do understand the confusion. There was a point in my life that I would have aborted a child if I was impregnated against my will. Why? Because the idea of someone being forced to do something against their will, steals the emotional control away. The thought of being reminded of the pain for nine months is hard to fathom, unless you yourself had gone through the experience, with either giving up the child for adoption or raising the child on your own. Even then, you understand more clearly than someone who will never understand while picketing and saying “Shame on you” while calling you a killer.
In reference to one’s sexual orientation. All I can say is that I love my life with my husband. If God took him away, I know that over time, I would want another man to share my life with. Yet, I can honestly say “I don’t get it” for other choices and orientations, because I don’t. I also don’t need to “get it” because it’s not a decision I need to make in my life. Yet those I know and have allowed me to embrace them as friends are amazingly warm people. In addition, what exists in today’s culture has been around since Adam and Eve, which was very apparent when Moses came back from receiving the Ten Commandments. It’s not God’s design, but it exists. When the townspeople wanted to cast stones at the prostitute, Jesus made it quite clear, that the one without sin be the first to cast the first stone. Everyone turned back. Why? Because they all knew within their hearts that what Christ was sharing is that we all have our own sin to contend with.
Our time on earth as a Christian is meant to be giving and loving. Some situations are hard to understand or accept, yet we are still called to act appropriately in the love we are taught to share. When we spend so much energy criticizing the choices people make, who they are, whether someone goes to church, gossip about their relationship, snub them for their choices, we are then too busy to work on our own issues. If we are unable to address our own sin as a result of our critical nature, then how can we expect God’s miracle of change within each of us to take place? God’s design for a unified Christian community is meant to include everyone who desires to be a part of it.
“Having God’s unconditional love doesn’t mean you have his unconditional approval.” ~ Miles McPherson