Thursday, June 16, 2016
The Heart of a Christian
There is much in the news about hate-filled, judgmental “Christians”. They are loud and want to speak for all Christians, but they don’t speak for us. They aren’t even the majority. Just like extremists from other faiths, these are a handful of people who use their “faith” to justify hatred in their hearts. They hide behind their “faith” as an excuse to do unspeakable things to other human beings because they aren’t brave enough to admit that they themselves are conceited, hate-filled, and judgmental. They blow up abortion clinics, march, carry signs, and spew hate all in the name of Jesus. Many justify their actions by citing one incident from Scripture (Mark 11:15-17) where they say Jesus “lost his temper", forgetting that Jesus was rebuking the Temple leaders (religious people) for misusing the Temple.
Followers of Jesus do not spew hate. We are not loud. We don’t post passive-aggressive comments on social media. We don’t feel that another person’s lack of faith in Christ is an insult to us or to God. We know that, were it not for a life-changing encounter with Jesus Christ, we’d be just like them. We just want everyone to know Jesus. Why?
Look at John 8. The religious leaders caught a woman in adultery. They stood her before Jesus and said that the Law commanded she be stoned, then asked what Jesus said about it. Jesus responds, “Let anyone of you who is without sin throw a stone at her.” It goes on to say that “Those who heard began to go away, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left with the woman.” Then Jesus asks “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” to which she replies “No one sir” and he responds… not with a monologue on why she is so bad… He simply says:
“Then neither do I condemn you, Go now and leave your life of sin.”
THAT is who I serve, the Savior I love. I’ve been on both sides of the story. I’ve been the girl, condemned by religion, knowing I am “bad” and that they are justified in their judgment of me. I have also been the religious person with the weight of a stone heavy in my hand, ready to punish someone who chose to disobey God’s law... and I have felt the weight of that rock become too much to bear as I remembered that I received forgiveness I did not deserve.
In Mark 10, we discover the Rich Young Ruler. The young man asks Jesus what he needs to do to be saved. Jesus responds that he must obey the commandments and the young man says he has. Jesus then tells him to sell his possessions and give to the poor, “and come, follow me.” God’s Word then says that the man went away sad.
Jesus gave the woman caught in adultery the choice to leave her life of sin… or not. He gave the rich young ruler the choice to sell all he had and follow Him…or not. Just as He gave me a choice, just as He gives you a choice. You can follow Him or not. You can’t continue to live contrary to God’s Word and follow Him, but the choice is yours.
When Jesus sent out the 12, he told them how to deal with people who didn’t want to hear their message: “If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet.” (Matthew 10:14 NIV) I only include this to explain why I don’t get all worked up when someone doesn’t believe like I do. I believe God’s Word. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God, the forgiver of sins, and I believe that eternal life in heaven is only available through Him, but I know that others believe what they believe just as strongly as I believe what I believe. I tell people about Jesus, about what He has done in my life, and explain the Gospel. From there, it’s their choice
Just as it was mine.