I'm so glad I'm a New York City Christian.
Last night I had the privelage of hosting three Godly women in my home. They were all Texas born and bred and two of them were married to pastors. I don't doubt any of their sincerity regarding their faith in God. They LOVE Jesus. But my God, their judgement of non-believers or those of another race or simply "other" was appalling.
We discussed chick Fil a and gay clergy and race and even Obama. They all claimed race wasn't an issue until HE came into office. I kept my mouth shut. Finally one of them asked my thoughts and I challenged them that as four white women we really had no clue what black culture was like or what their struggles were. "Victim mentality" I heard over and over. "Standing for What's Right" trumped making someone feel loved.
I recognized their words well. I used speak them. And I knew the feelings that accompanied these sentiments. Feelings of righteousness and animosity. Feelings that there was a battle we Christians must constantly wage. Standing for BELIEFS versus people. Letting people know their behavior was unlawful in God's eyes versus letting people know they were loved in God's eyes.
No matter how much I tried to instill a sense of mystery or humility, it was quickly swatted away with righteous indignation. Chick-fil-A flying a pride flag in Hells Kitchen? Rubbish! Then we're condoning gay sex. "What if the goal was to let gay people know they are welcome?" was my suggestion. "Sometimes the more loving thing is to tell someone they're doing something wrong than accept them," was their rebuttal.
No love. No compassion. No humility. Just because your sin has a rainbow colored flag doesn't mean my sin that doesn't have a flag causes any less fanfare. We are ALL sinners and some are easier to pinpoint than others, but what about the mega-church pastor who starts relying more on his intellect than God's wisdom. Isn't pride the worst sin of all?
And since when was it a Christian's jobs to judge non-Christians? It's so ridiculous. Why would I expect any non-believer to adhere to rules and devotion to Someone they don't even believe in? I certainly don't follow the rules on a daily basis and I DO believe in God!
My heart for people has changed. I care more about people knowing Jesus loves them and offers them freedom than I do whether or not they're spic and span before they approach the throne of God. Isn't that what Grace is all about? Since when do people gravitate TOWARDS judgers? Never.
When the adulterous woman was caught and her fellow townsmen wanted to stone her, it was JESUS who told them to lay down their weapons. It was JESUS who confronted them of their own self righteousness and hypocrisy, and it wasn't until Jesus put his arm around this woman, drawing her near and whispers He does not condemn her that THEN He tells her to sin no more. By that point she knew she was loved. She knew she was welcome and her heart was open to hearing the wisdom of this God who had shown her He loved her. Christians today stand on the sidelines and tell people not to throw stones but they certainly don't run toward sinners and shout at the angry mob to "LEAVE THEM ALONE" while providing protection and grace.
Have you ever been scolded my someone who wasn't your parent? What was the first thing you said? "You're not my parent! You can't tell me what to do!" Why would we expect anyone to listen to the Father when they don't even recognize Him as their Abba? Why are we as Christians continually astounded at the immorality of non-believers and so easy on judging our own?