Ok, I was inspired. Get comfortable.
When it comes down to my struggle these past few weeks, a lot of it is anger. But a lot of it was blind anger. I read the Bible, and I believe the Lord’s words in it. I know that there is truth. But when I see a sign like the one in the front of my church, I seethe with anger, knowing that many are reading judgment from that sign, and seeing that sign as further “proof” that they don’t belong in the church, and they don’t belong in God’s family. And having heard some Christians and their judgment of the more obvious sins as if they don’t sin themselves, I don’t blame those feelings I am imagining they are feeling.
But I’ve had a lot of time with the Lord, and a lot of time in counsel with others over this issue. And I’ve been encouraged to write about MY Jesus, the one I feel when I wrap myself up in His love. So here goes…..
My Jesus is an ever loving Lord. And He loves ALL His children. My Jesus knows more about you and me than we know about ourselves. He knows why we do the things we do, for He created us as we are through the situations we have endured. He has shaped our lives to be good at some things and not so good at others, but all for His purpose. I believe He has power over everything, and that every little thing has a purpose. I don’t believe that my Jesus makes mistakes.
My Jesus sees our judgments of others as a waste of time. We are all sinners. Not one of us is perfect. For us to look down on others is hypocritical, as we all have our own struggles and failures. My Jesus rejoices when love is given, when compassion triumphs, when sacrifices are made for the good of others, when we give more of ourselves than is comfortable. My Jesus rejoices when we look past the sins of another, and accept them as a member of His holy family. My Jesus sees sin as a sin, none greater, none smaller, but all sins that He can forgive when we let Him. My Jesus looks past our sins and sees our hearts.
I believe that more people are going to get to Heaven than we think.
My Jesus is not some distant mystical creature, my Jesus walks at my side. Sometimes He whispers to me so that I have to be still to hear Him, sometimes His words are so loud and clear that I can’t miss them. Sometimes He is silent, allowing me to profess my love or scream my anger. My Jesus lets me be real with Him, and does not prohibit me when I just don’t understand “why”. But he never fails to show me “why” eventually, and I have become a better servant because of His faitfulness.
I am not always good to my Jesus. Sometimes I ignore Him. Sometimes I am blatantly disobedient. Sometimes I tell Him that it is just too hard to follow Him, and that I am taking a “vacation”. I believe I sadden my Jesus when I do this. I believe He misses me, and it’s at these times when I try to ignore the things He places in my path to draw me back. But when I’ve come to my senses and come back, my Jesus rejoices and blesses me.
And what about the sticky stuff, the stuff I’m afraid to write about so publicly? How about the stuff that comes easy for me.
My Jesus is sad about how far we’ve gone with the images we see on TV, and how casually we exploit our bodies. My Jesus is sad when we kill our babies inside of us, and claim it is our bodies to do with what we want. My Jesus gave us bodies to house his Holy Spirit, and is sad when we disgrace them by giving it up so casually and/or promiscually to others. And I believe that even with these sins, my Jesus embraces us and calls us His own.
And then homosexuality.
This is such a hard issue, and the one that I struggle with the most. This issue I have been pretty ambivalent towards, not wanting to take a vocal stand on either side of the fence. But with this upcoming sermon, I’ve come to the realization that I need to be clear on all my beliefs instead of “whatever goes”. And I think that this realization that I must have beliefs and stand strong in them angers me most of all.
So here goes. I have seen the most beautiful loves between homosexual couples. I have seen loves that I have longed for, where there is real respect and understanding, and a unique bond. Having been in an abusive relationship where I was constantly ridiculed, broken in body and spirit, stepped upon, lied to, and disgraced, I have looked at the nurturing and equal relationship between two female friends of mine….and have been jealous. And I have also seen how those of the homosexual community feel left out of God’s family because of who they are, and have decided to just not believe in anything because of it. And it is even more sad when I have seen extremists in the news spewing hate to these people, excluding them even more from God’s family. And I think THIS makes Jesus sad. I know what the Bible says about homosexuality. I do not discount it. I know what God’s plan is. But I do not believe that my Jesus would ever withhold His kingdom from someone because of who they love. My Jesus IS love. He revels in it, shares it, craves it, creates it. My Jesus is an everloving Lord. That is the beginning, and that is the ending. My Lord is LOVE.
My problem with the sign in front of my church is not so much what it’s about, but how it’s said. I believe it is using more shock value rather than sharing the gospel to get people in our doors. And it has the power to turn yet another person away from a love that is so amazing, from the love of our Father, Jesus. But as someone pointed out to me, it could also have the power to invite at least one person into God’s family, and for that one person it would all be worth it.
I have heard that the sermons from the past couple of weeks have been powerfully moving, have been life changing. And ironically enough, I am unable to attend every service this month….except for the sermon on homosexuality. I have been struggling with whether I’m going or not, and my first response was to boycott all of them. But the Lord has been tapping on my shoulder, whispering that I need to go. And I don’t know if it’s for the church’s benefit or mine. Will I be going and hearing judgment, or will I be hearing love and acceptance regardless of sin? I have come to so many of my own conclusions about what this sermon is to be about, and how non-believers will be even more turned away from God and the church, and how “wrong” all of this is. But I have no idea. So I must see for myself, with an open mind, and lots of prayers that I am dead wrong in what I’m uneasy about.
But I still don’t like that sign.