Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Not what Jesus would do, but what he said for us to do

Have you ever paid attention to what Jesus was telling us to do?

‘love your neighbor as yourself’; ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind’; 'love me'; 'Listen and understand'; “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees”; “Don't be afraid”; "Follow me."

In examining the things Jesus told us to do, I was struck by one fact -- he never told us to judge anyone. Everything we are suppose to do is based on love. It is an innate human quality gifted to us by God at birth to love and care for others, and yet we turn our backs on that gift because we want to do Gods job and judge everyone else for their sins. It reminds me of the old saying, "When you're pointing the finger, remember there are four more pointed back at you."

We think that sexual sins are the worst kind of sins and we brandish signs of protest against gay marriage and sexual promiscuity but what exactly are we showing people about Christ? We are showing them that after 2,000 years, his most faithful followers still aren't listening to his message. We tend to forget the compassion and acceptance Christ discipled to the prostitutes and the harsh outbursts he saved for those lining their pockets instead of helping the poor. Showing love and acceptance is about loving the person, its not saying you love the sin; its just doing it the way God would have us to do it.

Without being partison, we judge President Bush with conviction and place him on a pedistal of rightiousness while he wag our tongues at President Clinton for his immorality. We rejoice over his reference to scripture on national television, yet we don't even think about the quietely prayer posture President Clinton assumed after the scandal of his administration. Evangelical author Lee Strobel spoke with conviction about their conversations and the repentent nature of the then president. We forget about forgiveness when its someone elses sin and we forget about the love toward the prodigal son.

We don't have to deminish our duties of disciplining our church congregations to show that love either. At its root, disciplining is about loving, but we need to make sure we understand the guidebook before we try to play tour director. If you're thinking about counseling someone against lust, perhaps you should check yourself against gluttony, pride, greed,envy, anger and sloth.

I'm just glad God loves us, and there's nothing we can do to change that.

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