Thursday, December 19, 2013

A Hater's Heyday

I spent quite a bit of time reading through comments online about the interview Phil Robertson (Duck Dynasty) gave GQ magazine today. It was such a mess of hatred. Sadly, a lot of the hate was being spat out by people referring to themselves as Christians. It honestly breaks my heart because it is so very clear to see why many people have such a poor view of Christians. Many of the comments were judgmental and just plain mean. Some people would start out nice, but then after being attacked would spout out lines of hatred.

I love God. I love his word, the Bible. I hate sin. Sin is clearly spelled out in the Bible. I could probably fill pages and pages with possible sins a person could commit. That isn't what being a Christian is about. Being a Christian is about understanding that no matter how hard I try, I am never going to be able to live a life without sin in it. The only way for me to be without sin is by accepting the forgiveness Christ offered by dying on the cross, by completely accepting that I can't do this without him. It comes by daily, sometimes hourly or by the minute, putting down my desires and seeking God to instead give me his.

I think by writing this I want to remind myself, as well as whoever may read it, we are the face of grace here in this world. What do our faces look like? What reason are we giving people to pick up a Bible and want to know that gift of grace? Why would anyone want to be part of Christianity that they see as judging and hating them? Satan is the accuser, but he has turned the hands and feet of Christ in this world into the fingers pointing and mocking.

What we need to be mad at is that we have somehow had our salvation twisted to be the very thing that keeps others from knowing God. And for what? So we can be right? So we can prove exactly what sins someone is or isn't committing by clearly pointing it out in whatever translation of the Bible we think would be the most effective?

It is not our job to convict someone's heart. When we try it turns to judgment and hatred. God is the only one who can convict, and he does it gently. He meets each person where they are and lovingly corrects them in a way we are not capable of.

I am guilty. I say mean, cruel and judgmental things and try to use the excuse that it's not wrong because clearly, it's sin. It's not my place to do that. My job is to worry about the sin God is gently guiding me through in my life. My job is to steer clear of the things God has corrected in me or shown me in his word.

My biggest job, however, is to love. It is to show grace and kindness to others, whether Christians or not.  My job is to pray that I can somehow show Jesus love physically to people who have not seen it, so then they can have a desire to know him.

The really awesome thing is the grace God gave me is so exciting, so awesome and appealing that it is impossible to ignore when I shut up and really seek him to do the speaking, whether actual talking, or through my actions.

What does that all mean? For me it means stopping myself when I get irritated in line at the store. Instead of getting angry, show compassion to that cashier. It means giving that waitress who gave me poor service a great tip. It means telling her I appreciate the job she did serving me. It means holding doors, smiling, speaking kind things even when I want to criticize. Showing kindness and love to someone isn't hard. Maybe that means stopping and having a conversation with the worker that I just realized is a guy instead of a girl. Other times I may have walked by and then stopped and laughed and pointed it out to whoever was with me. Showing love is sometimes just as simple as shutting my mouth and listening, really listening to someone. It's acknowledging people, that they have worth and it can be done in many small gestures.

Every person I meet every day is a sinner. The one I need to be the most worried about is the one I see in the mirror, first thing in the morning every day. When I forget the mess I am without Christ and I start thinking I have it all together, I waste the gift he gave me. I am a big fat sinner and always will be while I'm here on this earth. I pray God corrects me every time I start to forget that.

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