|Love by: Cindy Andrie|
I'd like to say a few words about judgment today. This is my problem and it is your problem; it is ours, each of ours. We must each own our responsibility for our drops of judgment that have culminated into a violent and destructive flood. We Christians are a body. We suffer as one; we triumph as one. We fail as one. If you do not take vigilant responsibility for your own actions and inactions then the body is in trouble, because no one else can take responsibility for you.
There is a rampant and destructive perception in our world today that Christians are intolerant and judgmental, and I'm sorry to say it but that perception is not wholly unjustified. It would be easy and comfortable to say that the media and non-Christians ought to treat us with more understanding, but that would be passing the blame. It would be pleasant to comfort our guilty consciences with the promise that we are blessed when people hate us (Luke 6:22), but brothers and sisters we cannot give ourselves such false comfort. We are blessed when people hate us because of Christ, but we are often not hated because of Christ, but because of ourselves. We are perceived as hateful and egocentric because we have behaved hatefully and egocentrically. We cannot hope to control the perceptions and judgments of others, but we do control our own actions. We cannot control what the world says about us, but we can control what is true about us.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is being slandered and ignored because it is not being represented. It is not commonly taught. It is not commonly lived out. It is used and abused as a marketing tool and an excuse for attention seeking protests that neither serve God nor people. We must change this, and that change starts with each of us. Our love must become more pervasive and relevant than the Westboro Baptists' hate. The great commission does not call non-Christians to be indulgent or patient with loud inept followers of Christ; it calls Disciples of Christ to give compassionate witness to the radical love of Jesus Christ.
Hopefully we are will be unfairly judged, at least a little. If we do as Christ commanded and do our good works in secret (Matthew 6:1-4), then it may be hard for us to build a good reputation in the world. This is fine. If we secretly give to the poor then our reward is in heaven; we do not need the world's approval, nor do we need to seek it. Seek God's approval. Our secrecy in regards to our good deeds, in a way, serves as an accountability measure. When we treat our neighbours shamefully or rudely there can be no chorus of excuses saying, “Though Christians have done some bad things, they've done more good things.” We are not afforded such excuses for sin. As a matter of fact We are afforded no excuses for sin, we are only afforded liberal forgiveness.
Jesus knows your heart. He knows your motives, your loves, passions, resentments, sensibilities, and sensitivities. You've done good; you've done evil. He is still working on you. He loves you, delights in forgiving your failures and is generous in giving his Spirit (Luke 11:11-13). Therefore since you have been forgiven by Jesus, reconciled to the Father, and empowered by his Spirit, I exhort you to love with love unequaled.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” -Matthew 5:43-45
“Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody.” -Romans 12:17
“Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.” -1 Peter 3:9