The basis of Christianity is love – not just loving those who love us, but expressing the sacrificial love of God to all, whether it’s comfortable or not.
One of my favorite stories in the bible is when a group of religious folk brings a woman who had caught in adultery to Jesus. Their motive was 100% to trap Jesus and condemn the woman. Interestingly enough the bible says she was caught “in the act,” which leaves me to believe they were watching. They justified their own sin by calling out hers and their self-righteous attitude severed their ability to see their glaring weakness. They brought her in and made her stand before the group, probably naked, in an attempt to humiliate and shame her. They were looking for validation of their hateful hearts and looking with eyes of the law instead of compassion.
“But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, if any of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her. Again, he stooped down and wrote on the ground.”
Love spoke, and love continues to speak 2000+ years later. Jesus laid out the two most significant commandments as loving God with all our heart, soul and mind and to love our neighbor as yourself. The Son of God knelt in the dirt with the woman caught in sin, while others were repulsed and judged from a distance. Jesus touched her with love while others condemned her to death. With love, all things are possible. With love, destinies change. With love, people see God.
Reflection: Am I only loving those who love me?
Am I open to embrace love, or are my fingers wrapped too tightly around the stones?
Recently a group of Christians armed with hate gathered at a gay pride parade in Seattle with intent to protest the gay community. Their motives were quickly exposed, and a drag queen named Mama T confronted their hypocrisy. I do not agree with everything Mama T stands for, but I found myself cheering her on as she called them to walk in love. No doubt, her passion stemmed from years of watching the “church” bash the gay population, and she was not going to tolerate it that day. Momma brazenly declared, “My Lord and Savior Jesus Christ loves you and loves me just as much!” Such powerful words were spoken by the one who was condemned. She further cited the Christians for their hate and called them to read their bible. Bam! Mama T just may have a second calling as an evangelist!
What if the church had shown up to serve the gay community without any other agenda? What if the Christians were fueled by love and not self-righteous holiness? Christ declared, “by this everyone will know you are my disciples if you love one another.” Not once did Christ protest people, but He loved them. He did not hold up signs implicating the crowds, nor did He yell at them over a bullhorn. Mama T saw through the hypocrisy and implored the crowd to love. Whether you agree or disagree with homosexuality is not the point. If you are a Christian, then your call to action is love.
Due to the nature of my work, I am engaged with the adult sex industry quite often. I partner with a Christian organization, xxxchurch.com, and attend sex conventions in NJ. Instead of bullying the industry, we serve them; and instead of bullhorns and picket signs, we give industry workers Starbucks and granola bars. We introduce them to a God who radically loves them. This method of sharing God’s love disgusts many Christians, for it’s not the typical way the church usually shows up. It’s not ordinary or comfortable for many; but when loves not hate fuels your actions, you won’t mind stepping out of your comfort zone.
Strippers, porn stars, prostitutes, and cross-dressers are now my friends. I invest in them with prayer, time, money, and energy. I love them, and I know God does too! I am a Christian, and my convictions are not blurred. When I saw that video of the church bullying the gay community, it hurt my heart. That certainly was not an accurate depiction of the God I serve. He passionately loves people, and His love is not contained for the church only. When I saw Mama T preaching love, I stood up and shouted out Amen. If we are going to be guilty of anything, let it be love, not condemnation!
“Let us be guilty of love, not condemnation.”
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