Sunday, June 7, 2015

GAY OR STRAIGHT, PART 3

Can we please be brutally honest? None of us has it all together. We are all flawed. No one completely knows EVERYTHING about ANYTHING. Not a one. Except God.

This is how we are wired. If we could attain perfection and complete knowledge while on this earth, there would be no need for God.

Maybe this is why God says he hates pride. HATES it. Not the prideful. Just pride in and of itself. Because pride puts an emphasis on us ~ who we are, and what we have accomplished.

Jesus wasn't calling out the sinner when He walked this earth. He used His harshest tones on the know-it-all, self-righteous Pharisees.

The sinners ~ the ones struggling and knee-deep in messiness ~ He came alongside of, lovingly ministering to them.

I am writing from my own personal experience at the risk of ruffling a few feathers. Many feathers, actually. That's okay. In fact, I think it's a good thing. And long overdue.

What I have personally witnessed inside some church walls has made me angry. And very sad. I believe it angers and saddens Jesus, too.

While men who struggle with pornography serve on church boards...innocent male/female friendships evolve into affairs...adults co-habitate before saying their vows...juicy gossip is served up on pretty plates...the god of self is commonplace, and countless other sins run rampant against our own bodies as well as the body of Christ, ONE issue gets labeled. UNACCEPTABLE.

What's more, it has been deemed acceptable to treat people as such. UNACCEPTABLE. Somehow, it's okay to excuse the pornography, look past the adultery, turn a blind eye to the rampant gluttony, make excuses for the dribbling gossip. But this ONE thing? Oh no! THAT is UNACCEPTABLE.

In our attempts to keep the church "clean" and presentable, I think we have managed to scuff up the very image of Christ and all He stands for ~ those He came for!

This I know. Jesus wasn't afraid to get dirty. He didn't turn a blind eye to those society cast off. Some of the people He chose to spend time with caused jaws to drop. "HOW COULD HE?! Doesn't He know who they are?"

An experience we had at a church we used to attend still causes my stomach to churn. A visitor in our adult Sunday School class, clearly gay, came asking questions. He didn't know the class protocol. He didn't know the Lord. He just knew he was hurting. He showed up searching, in desperate need for answers and for healing.

When he opened his mouth to speak, the tone in the room went sour. How could this visitor have made his way into OUR room? Who was going to control him? After all, this hour on Sunday morning wasn't about him and his problems. We were there to learn!

My husband and I left after class with a weight on our hearts too heavy for words. When we encountered the man in the foyer, we knew it was a divine appointment. For an hour and a half, we listened, encouraged, and prayed we'd be lights in a church that had dimmed theirs to this hurting man. Oh, how I pray we were lights!

To make matters worse, the expressions we witnessed on familiar faces as they saw us fellowshipping with him gave me a very small glimpse into what this man had endured for probably all of his adult life. Tsk, tsk...shock...everything but the love of Christ. Oh, how I pray he saw Christ's love in us that morning!

That day I knew. Though our history with that particular church was long and we had good friends there, it wasn't our home anymore. Sometimes you just know when it's time to move on.

My heart still aches for the man. But it also aches for my fellow believers. Those whose hearts are hardened, who find it easier to judge than to love ~ their condition cannot possibly be pleasing to God.

Again, no one has it all together. All of us are flawed. I place myself at the top of that list. We all need God's grace. And thank GOD He has an abundant supply of it!

I am pretty sure if Jesus had walked into our church that morning, He would have given some of His followers a stern talking to. But first, He would have sat with that man ~ talked, listened, and showed him the agape love he was craving.

Lord, please! Help us to stop pointing fingers! Help us be lights to a hurting world. Help us to be channels of Your agape love to all. Gay or straight.

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