Saturday, July 30, 2011

When Christians hurt Christianity

The older I get and the more I come to understand about God's Word, the body of Christ, the Priesthood of all believers, and God's Grace, the more upset I get at those Christians who attack, belittle, and show NO agape love of others. Now I've always considered those like the Westboro Baptist cult as extremists and fringe groups that are heretical likened to the early heresies suffered in the Church of the first three centuries. Then I started listening to Christian Radio. Some of it is wonderful and uplifting-sharing the Good News as the Great Commission requires of all Christians. But other things I heard on the radio greatly upset me. I don't believe you can lead anyone to God's Saving Grace by telling them that they are evil and going to burn in Hell for eternity. Or that if someone believes in evolution, they are damned for eternity.

Here is a message for all Christians: Only God Saves! You can point the way, but only the Holy Spirit can change hearts, and only by the precious blood of Christ is anyone saved.

Jesus sought out the sinners, ate with them, taught them, loved them. He didn't stay in the clean walls of the synagogues with the Pharisees who sought pure cleanliness and holier-than-thou attitudes. There is a HUGE lesson there for us. He also spoke more about judgementalism than love! Uh-oh. What lesson do we take from that?

Do I believe Hell exists? Yes. But I think Hell is truly the total absence of God's love and spirit. And if you are a Christian, then you know this is a fate worse than eternal burning. Jesus referred to Hell as Gehenna. Gehenna was the trash pit outside of Jerusalem where all the trash was burned on a daily basis. The trash existed, was destroyed, and was no more.

No one is saved by being told they are going to burn in Hell. They are led to Christ by Christians living the Christian life, and offering the love of God and acceptance to those who have not known it. Walk the Walk, don't just talk the talk. Be what he has called us to be.

We can disagree on many, many issues, but if you teach anything more than Grace, you are missing the point. Read the words of Christ. What does He say? Love you neighbor as yourself. Give to the poor, feed the hungry, cloth those that need it, visit those in prison, help the widows and the orphans. Love your enemies. Pray for them.

He did not cut them off from His fellowship. If you cast out sinners, then none will ever be in the Church. I have news for all of you. You and I are sinners. None of us will ever stand before God in a sinless state.

Now as to sin. Only man places degrees of horribleness on sin. God is pure and all sin is an anathema to Him. That means the little ones (using God's name in vain) and the big ones (murder, rape) are all the same to Him!

Do NOT be a Pharisee. Seek understanding, wisdom, and friendship with those who are not Christians. Let them learn by your example. Pray, love, and seek peace in all situations.

We can disagree and still be Christians, but you will never lead others into a relationship with God by bashing, attacking, or other radical actions or words. Be an instrument of God's love, or get out of His way. If you are the cause of others turning away from God and you call yourself a Christian, than I think you will have a difficult time on that day when you stand before him and he reviews what you did and said in this life!

What have you done lately to show the love of Christ to others? What have you said? Where is your heart? Who has come to see God in you?

That is the Great Commission. If you call yourself a Christian, put up or shut up!

Praying for you,