By: Jana Greene
“Jesus, overhearing, shot back, “Who needs a doctor: the healthy or the sick? I’m here inviting the sin-sick, not the spiritually-fit.”– Mark 2:17 (MSG)
Last night I had a curious thought. I was considering our roles as Christ followers and the very varied and controversial methods of spreading the gospel we employ.
How important is it chastise others who are not towing the proverbial line according to biblical standards, vs. how important it is to leave the confrontation of one’s behavior to God, if and when he so chooses, and just love the bejeebers out of people who don’t look / act / believe like us.
Pick your righteous anger pet peeve purveyor:
Presidents (incoming and outgoing).
People who don’t use turn signals.
The LGBT community.
Democrats. Or Republicans.
The maddeningly militant youths of today.
Twerkers (sorry, couldn’t resist…)
A virtual smorgasbord of naughty and / or reprehensible to your delicate sensibilities. My delicate sensibilities. Here’s the rub: The hurting world already knows what Christians think of their behaviors and choices. They’ve already heard it, and built fortresses around themselves to keep Jesus out because his followers are too often full of hate and judgement.
Maybe what they DON’T know is the message of his passionate and unrelenting LOVE for them, right exactly where they are. Maybe they can’t hear it over the din of our disdain.
There is a large percentage of church-goers who will call you a heretic, if you don’t call unbelievers on their crap. I know because I used to be one.
But not anymore. Because God didn’t build a fortress to keep me out when I was abusing alcohol and dying inside. He invited me in to his kingdom as is. As. Is.
So, picking back up on the story of last night’s considerations, God gave me the image of a paramedic.
When an EMT is called to the scene of an accident or incident, it is because a horrible emergency has arisen. They are FIRST on the scene because they must act fast to keep people from dying. If they are responding to a car accident, for example, they are not tasked with figuring out which driver was at fault, who ran through the red light. They are not determining who was at fault and why. They are just bringing life-giving service in the heat of carnage and panic. Law enforcement will arrive shortly after an incident to hash out the details and disperse judgement via tickets or citations.
We believers are called to be triage. We are asked to be first responders in the call to tell people (even the ones that rile us up). God will do his thing – his Holy thing – smack-dab in the middle of carnage and panic. On his time. He metes out conviction, and does so lovingly, like the gentle Father he is. He hashes out the details. It’s simply not our job.
You are triage.
You might be the first point of contact for someone whose whole life is caving in.
Open the fortress gate like Jesus did for you. Fling those gates WIDE open. Tell people about the wild, fierce, passionate love that God wants to manifest in their lives. There is nothing tidy about his love, it spills over and out to all sinners and saints, and this hurting world needs desperately to know that.
Billy Graham is quoted as saying:
“It is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict, God’s job to judge and my job to love.”
I like that. I like it a lot.
God bless us, every one.