Thursday, April 16, 2015

Forgiven Much = Loves Much

I closed a post last week with John 3:17, and the thought "We still have a lot of work to do."

As soon as I read it, I was convicted.

 For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. John 3:17

We do still have a lot of work to do. Originally, I was thinking "We have a lot of work to do" because I was reminded that there are many who do not know and acknowledge Christ as Lord, but I am also convicted that we have a lot of work to do within the Christian Community.

If anyone could have condemned the "world", it was Jesus Christ, yet He came to save. In Scripture, He did not condemn and criticize the "world" - those who did not know Him, but time and time again He told the Church Leaders how wrong they were. I am almost certain that, if He were to visit us in the flesh again today, His reaction would be much the same.

Rather than be thankful for the opportunity to touch people who do not regularly attend church, we condemn them for only coming on Christmas and Easter. There is even a name given for those who only attend on these holidays...

Creasters

What must Christ think of this arrogance? What must He think of our self proclaimed piety? Does it break His heart? Does it anger Him?

Christ's life begs us to love the unlovable, the lost, the wounded, the broken, and the weak and weary. Christ's death begs us to share the Gospel with ALL who will hear it.
Christ's resurrection assures us that HE is powerful enough to save all.
Even if they choose Easter Sunday to come to church for the first time.

So then, rather than condemn  and criticize those who do not meet our expectation of what Christ wants, we are wise to go back to God's Word and see what Jesus Himself says about all this. I am ashamed that I have ever thought myself better than another simply because I go to church more often than they. God's word reminds me that His ways are not mine, He looks at my heart, not my church attendance, to determine my Spiritual growth.

Christ's life, death, and resurrection demands one thing of us...to love those He places in our path. Whether that person be a long time church member who never misses a service or a first time visitor who chose Easter as a good time to try Church, Jesus tells us to love them. There is no room for judgment and condemnation in the heart of a Christian.

Who am I to think that I am any more worthy of  His grace and mercy than you?

After all, Jesus did not condemn me. He took me just as I was, broken and lost and searching for a reason to live. He scooped me up, brushed me off, and radically changed everything in me. I want that for you, whomever you are and where ever you are.

I KNOW the sin in my life that Jesus died for. I remember who I was before Christ. I know the change Jesus made in my heart. I know that I would be completely hopeless, wandering, and worthless without Him.

Jesus addresses This very thing when the "church leaders" condemn the woman who anoints His feet. You can read the story here.

Therefore I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven; that's why she loved much. But the one who is forgiven little, loves little. Luke 7:47