I’m sure over half of those who read that title will find it offensive. Guess what?
God’s love is offensive.
Recent conversations with friends and family have led me back to my favorite Bible verse: Galatians 5:6, “…the only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.”
Many Christians have a need to see the world in black and white, to unequivocally call things right or wrong. It’s important for them to categorize actions as sinful or acceptable, to judge others based on a rigid criterion devoid of love. These Christians can back up their thought processes with scripture; they tell others how God should/would react to certain behaviors, and they in turn attempt to do the same. The problem with this mindset is that it is not based in Love. The very definition of God is Love (1 John 4:8). There is no fear (1 John 4:18), no condemnation (Romans 8:1), and no finger-pointing (1 Corinthians 13: 4-7) in God’s unconditional love.
So those “Christians” who are quick to judge, slow to love, and shake their heads at other people’s “sin” are not demonstrating God’s love. If someone says “I love God,” but acts rude, disrespectful, hateful, judgmental toward other human beings, that person is a liar (1 John 4:20). When we look down our noses at those who make decisions we disagree with, and think “I’d never do that…” or “Well, I thought that person was a Christian…” or “How dare they?!” we are not extending love to those who need it most. Many Christians get too hung up on “hating the sin” and don’t truly “love the sinner.”
God has asked me to walk though some intense fire-pits in the last decade of my life, and many people (“Christians”) were (and are) very quick to judge me. Having made it through my valleys and storms, I can look back and see God’s purpose and provision throughout my missteps and mistakes. God’s promise in Romans 8:28 rings true in my life. “God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love [Him]…”
I have made mistakes. I have sinned. I have wronged others. I have been selfish.
But I have been redeemed.
I am covered by God’s unreasonable grace in spite of who I am and what I’ve done. Because of my experience, I am happy to extend that grace to others.
I recently came across a quote and picture that resonated deeply in my soul…
Sometimes I think, “If people knew the half of it, they’d think differently.” If people had walked my road, they’d throw less stones. I choose to keep that mindset with everyone I meet. How different would our world be if more Christians made that decision? If everyone who took the name of Christ reacted out of love, rather than judgment, people would flock to churches and beg to know this type of love. Hear His words in Micah 6:8, “…the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.”
Focus on what matters! I must love mercy and extend it to everyone I encounter; judgment has no place in my life. I must choose to humble myself and not find flaws in other people. The ONLY thing that counts is FAITH expressing itself through LOVE.