Long Division…

Thou shalt become like me or thou must not really be a Christian…Thou shalt believe and interpret scripture the exact same way that I do or you are living in sin…Thou shalt follow the precepts and teachings of the religious right or religious left to prove you are a true believer…Thou shalt speak ill of all those who do not measure up to the old testament standard of holiness…thou shalt look down your nose and speak in condencending terms to those that refuse to take into account, context, original language, and intent of the author, and favor a literal interpretation of scripture…

Over the past months and unfortunately years I have seen what I can only describe as the systematic dismantling of Christianity from the inside… The symptoms are all around us, easily seen by those that so desperately need to hear the message of Christ, and each one of them makes our job all the more difficult.  Christians will stand for gun rights, demand we close our boarders, advocate for registering of refugees, and of all things following Donald Trump as if he were anointed by God to and canonized by Rome…

I have read and heard and seen people claim that God’s love and grace are conditional. I have watched people claim that sin is a relative term and we don’t say that word because it can alienate whole groups of people who don’t believe in the concept of sin or who don’t think that it really matters.

In short Christians are great at tearing each other down, and in the process showing a world that is in desperate need of hope, hope that comes from Christ, that we are hopeless.

The more I read the Bible, the more I am convinced that we have it all wrong…that we are so bent on being right about the minute details of what makes God happy, at what gives us a shot at hearing “well done”  we don’t get to doing.  I am never going to agree with everything another follower of Christ or Pastor says, how they interpret scripture, and what they deem are the keys to fellowship with God.  Peter addresses these very things though.

1 Peter 4:8 (HCSB)
8  Above all, maintain an intense love for each other, since love covers a multitude of sins.

It’s like he knew, knew that there were going to be things that Christians did not see eye to eye on.  There were going to be all kinds of reasons to not interact, to not fellowship, to point fingers and call names.  John addresses the issue when he talks about not all sin leading to death… I wondered about this, because in the same sentence he says all unrighteousness is sin, but not all sin leads to death.  Specifically John seems to be talking about when I notice sin in other people…my response to what I deem a sin…

1 John 5:16-17 (HCSB)
16  If anyone sees his brother committing a sin that does not bring death, he should ask, and God will give life to him—to those who commit sin that doesn’t bring death. There is sin that brings death. I am not saying he should pray about that.
17  All unrighteousness is sin, and there is sin that does not bring death.

I wonder sometimes if both Peter and John are giving us a clue on how we are to interact with each other…if they are trying to tell us in very plain terms that our judgment of sin isn’t what matters, especially when we are dealing with each other, especially when we are dealing with people who claim to be followers of Christ and the evidence of their life, they way they live and move and have their being, clearly shows that they are following God, that they are Loving Him and Loving people.  What if what they both are talking about is the way human beings, the way you and I, decide what is sin and what isn’t even when we can see that the persons life is lived in  a way that brings glory to God, that they evidence the character of Christ, but because we dislike something that they do, or it doesn’t fit our interpretation of the Bible that must mean that they are in deep sin and can’t be really “saved?”  What if we spent more time loving the people around us, the people who are supposed to be pulling in the same direction that are supposed to be salt and light, what if we began to realize that we don’t have it all right, that we don’t have it all wrong, and that the most important thing for us to do is work to bring the good news the Gospel of Christ to the world.

Imagine what would happen if we saw each other as allies, if we realized that the thing that binds us together a faith grounded in the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ is stronger than my personal opinion or agenda?  What if we prayed for people instead of preying on them in the world of the church.

So many what if’s, so many opportunities missed because the church is busy fighting amongst themselves.

Love God, Love People.  Simple, to the Point…Love… When we respond in Love we will see the person before we see the problem… and we may find the problem isn’t as big as we make it out to be…

The church world has been divided for a long time…the longer we remain that way the harder it will be to show the world that the need a relationship with the God we serve…

 

 

 

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