Jesus was known for loving the rejected, listening to the misunderstood, feasting, breaking bread and sharing his resources with those who were at the bottom of society. Those who were not loved, appreciated, and treated the way they deserved to be treated. And Jesus was known for condemning those who classified themselves as the religious elite. Those who knew the Word inside and out, those who could quote scriptures, preach sermons but lacked love and honor. He was known for publicly correcting them and stating that isn’t God’s intention for scripture: that we might work our way up to him, that we would judge other people on whether or not we think they deserve heaven from their behavior.
In reality, the salvation story is that while we were yet dead in our sin. While we were yet dead in our sin God sent His only son to die for us so that we gain the opportunity to have a relationship with Him that we could never earn.
A relationship with Him that we didn’t deserve. Not because we love him but because he loves us. He didn’t design us to do life outside of Him and try to figure everything out without him. That’s what all of this is about.
So as you point fingers at other people telling them they’re not living right, we must remember that we were not living right and God grabbed ahold of us, we didn’t grab ahold of him. We love because He First loved us, he first pursued us, chose us, singled us out, radically changed our hearts and minds, and set our eyes on Him.
He made the first move. He initiated with us and he continues to initiate all around the world.
So for the finger-pointers, how is God going to initiate a fantastic display of his love, power, affection, and grace through our judgment? Dust calling other people nothing but dust.
It’s one thing to tell the truth in love. That scripture refers to sharing biblical truth in order to help our brothers and sisters come closer to God, understand how much they’re loved and he desires to have a relationship with them, experience a transformed life that is upright and righteous, and become more like his image as they begin to walk with him.
Some people take that phrase and decide they’ll just pick a bible verse and slap others in the face with it—using the Bible as a weapon! You don’t take bible verses meant to convict unto the Holy Spirit and abuse people with them. That’s what Christians have done far too often for far too long. We lack self-control (which is a fruit of the spirit) , we lack decency, we lack common sense, we lack knowledge of a time and place for everything, we lack the ability to use discernment and wisdom in tumultuous times and difficult situations. We just do whatever we want and feel as though we are privileged to be able to do that.
We can be quick to believe, “my relationship with God, my Christian title, my bumper sticker, my Christian beliefs give me the right to tell you what you’re doing wrong.”
We have to understand that just like in leadership, if you haven’t earned respect you haven’t earned the right to speak into someone else’s life. You have to earn that respect, earn that relationship, and earn that right. To earn it means the other party gives it to you and they decide they trust you enough to respect what you have to say.
The same thing applies in religion. Often religious people say, “if no one else says it, I’m just gonna say it and y’all can deal with it if you don’t like my truth.” We give ourselves the pedestal or platform.
Who are you?
You don’t matter to that person.
If you’re looking for credibility, you lose it the minute you start pointing fingers at someone.
No one’s lives are changed from a condemning Facebook post or video of you discussing the impact public things (that you chose to engage in) have made on your sheltered family. Nobody will be radically transformed by the hate you’re spewing with no knowledge of their background, purpose, spiritual walk etc. It’s prideful for me to puff myself up to the point where I assume a complete stranger will let my opinion rule their behavior and decision making.
We have to stop thinking we hold ground in the lives of strangers because we love and follow Jesus.
The way Jesus would interact with people is he’d:
Meet their need first
Have a conversation with them first
Address the religious hypocrisy first
Break bread with them first
Perform a miracle first
He would meet them where they are right in the middle of their own customs and speak with them when no one else would. This is how Jesus would begin his interactions with the lost. The Bible says he looked upon them with compassion and sometimes he wept because they were lost like sheep without a shepherd.
We cannot forget the power and importance of earning respect, building credibility, building rapport and relationship and finally never forget that we were lost. We are lost and we need God just as much as anyone else. We are accountable for our hate just as much as others are accountable for their sin. We are accountable for our lack of self-control more than others who are unaware that they need it and how to find it.
God, help this world to be attracted to you because they can see who we are, what we live, who we love, and how we celebrate and love unconditionally. Amen.