Let's see a show of hands here - how many of you reading this (who are Christians) have done one of the following today: judged another person, looked upon another with disdain (or even worse, disgust), or just flat out been sickened by the actions of someone? If you're like me, you're probably raising your hand. In today's post, Joey takes a stab at why he thinks the church has gotten so bad at at one of our prime directives - to love others.
Are you a Christian fraud? The question is actually not if you are a fake, but rather, how often? Unless you love perfectly, you are at least sometimes a fraud, a playfake, a wanna-be; you get the picture. I mean, it doesn’t get any clearer than 1 Corinthians 13:1 when Paul says,
“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.”
We can’t be perfect at loving, but if we consistently do things without love, our faith is worthless and as fake as the healthiness of Diet Coke.
When’s the last time you saw the cheaters, prostitutes and druggies all flock to the Christians for hang-out time? Jesus loved perfectly and this is what happened to Him. We have to admit, as a church, that we are doing something wrong. Let’s just cut to the chase: Some of us just flat out suck at it. Why don’t you take the following test and see how well you love? Maybe even use this at your next community/small group discussion.
When you see a single teenage mother, do you think:
Man how irresponsible. Why couldn’t she have just kept her pants on?
Wow, that’s awesome that she decided to bring that kid into the world. I sure hope she has the support that she needs and that she has or will find Jesus’ grace to permeate through her whole life.
When you see a drunken redneck at the bar, do you think:
Does your heart bleed for someone that truly thinks that alcohol is the answer he needs?
When you hear about the sexual predator that violated the trust of a precious child, are you:
Sickened by the repulsive predator?
Sickened by the disastrous effects this will have on the victim AND saddened by how destructive sexual perversion was on the predator?
When you saw Miley Cyrus twerk for the first time, did:
Your heart break with sadness?
You fill with rage and anger of how bad an example she was to your daughter(s)?
How’d you do? I KNOW how many of you answered because I’m friends with a lot of Christians that would not answer these questions too favorably.
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If we follow Jesus, the one that showed love in such a radical way, how’d the church get so horrible at loving?
Check this out: Luke 7:36-47
You didn’t read it, did you? Lazy, lazy lazy, eh?
Jesus had to ask this Pharisee, Peter, if he even saw this woman? In other words, “This is a real person, dumbass” (not Jesus’ exact words, but maybe his thoughts).
Do you forget that “people” are real people with real backgrounds, hardships and souls?
All Peter could think about was whether or not some one’s life looked good. Her sin was way more visible, appeared way more shameful and thus, she’s way worse of a person. But Jesus is a game-changer. When we look at Him and His perfection, the rest of us are on the same playing field. Do you constantly compare yourself to others, putting yourself on a higher level of righteousness?
When our minds are more consumed with Jesus than anything else, instead of first dwelling on other people’s lives and how sinful they are, we’d think more along the lines of how thankful they would be if they accepted Jesus’ grace.
Can people see this true gospel message in how you love them? Or are they more aware of the things they do that you disapprove of? We all have to get better at this.
Here are a handful of suggestions for you to think about and ponder:
Stop everything and learn how to love. Its that important.
Make love a priority over evangelism. Your evangelism will be more effective.
Take risks to love unbelievers, even when it might be offensive to other Christians.
Have patience with other Christians.
Rethink ministries/studies that are so focused on spiritual gifts that they don’t have time to love.
Pray for an understanding of God’s love and for you to be a reflection of it.
Jesus spoke truth perfectly and also loved perfectly. Both are equally important and one is incomplete without the other. If you focus on love and downplay truth, that’s not a loving thing to do. If you focus on truth but aren’t loving, people may be hearing you but they aren’t listening. You are also ignoring some of the most profound truth in the Bible (teachings about love). Perfect love drives out fear (1 John 4:18). Your truth is worthless without love. Go ahead and clang that annoying cymbal. No one is listening.