Wednesday, February 5, 2014
Who is the stumbling block, really?
Here I am, back on a soapbox.
I get annoyed with Christians. Yes, I have a good friend who reminds me frequently that Christians aren't the only goofballs on the planet. However, they are the only goofballs who guard the truth so carefully behind their own schemes and self-importance.
I pray to be the anomaly. I love Jesus. I believe that Jesus came to set the world free. I also find that Christians seem to have attempted to own his truths and leverage them for their own purposes. Not just in Rome, but in the religious right, and in many churches and in many relationships.
I have seen many well meaning Christians try to create difference in the world. Some succeed, but many fall to irrelevance. It seems to me that the ones that succeed to change hearts & lives are known by their willingness to love relentlessly and are aware of their own brokenness. Not only are these individuals desiring to make a difference in the world, they are sharing the thing that made a difference in THEIR world-the love of Jesus.
Now, lest you think I am speaking a gospel of grace alone, Jesus never did that. He loved people where they were, but also into who they could be. Look at who the disciples were during the early days versus who they become while writing letters to early church communities. The boys who are mouthy and skeptical become men of wisdom. All because a God/man named Jesus changed their lives.
If Jesus hasn't changed your life and you are hanging out in the church, that is fine. Just please don't tell people how they should live and think and behave. Because Jesus makes life messy. Jesus saved my marriage, but following him sometimes wrecks my relationship. If anything, we should experience more compassion for others as Christians, not less.
We are not graceful creatures, this mud of humanity. We are clumsy at best. Those who claim to be closest to God must be kinder to those far away. But those on the journey, don't you walk away from the call of the God of the universe because of some fools! We are all clumsy. We are all awkward. We all stumble. We are not much more than children, but we are His children.
I hate that Christians can become the biggest stumbling block for those seeking.
I hate that I can be that stumbling block for another. To think of someone dying alone from addiction in their own vomit, to think of someone hounded by self loathing and insecurities skulking away in shadows...because I made finding community and God too difficult or too complicated or too much about me...I would rather be in their shoes than mine.
People might say, "I only told them the truth."
Really? Jesus did not say to me, you are a dreadful creature that cannot do anything right. He loved me first, not just that in spite of kind of love. He LOVED me. And I changed because his love made me different. It is messy in the middle, where grace and truth meet, but it is the messy of God's love, aching for better for the object of that love, not the tolerance of a probation officer.