Last month, when my wife and I were visiting my sister in Chicago, we went to grab some brunch before we headed home, and on the way, walked by some people who were protesting at the city’s Gay Pride parade, which was just about to begin. If you’re familiar with the Westboro Baptist Church and their awful tactics, then you can imagine what the scene was like. They mostly spewed vile, hate filled statements. They were looking for reactions, and even used a megaphone to state their beliefs. (A picture I took of them is shown here).
I later wondered, if I ever sat down with one of them for breakfast, what would I say and share? I think it would go something like this:
People matter to God. All people. The key word in John 3:16 is “whoever.” So that means everyone matters to God whether God matters to them or not.
Do you feel like you are truly doing God’s will today? This is not the same Bible I read and the Lord that I know. We disagree on how Jesus deals with our sin. Jesus engaged people, showed compassion, and then responded by speaking the truth in love. The people who He spoke the most sternly to were the self righteous, religious types. It’s easy to be smug. Being self-righteous seems to be so easy and natural.
Senior Pastor Pete Wilson refers your tactics as “Grace Killing” At his church “Everyone is welcome, because no one is perfect, and anything is possible.” That’s the Church Jesus is building now.
So what does grace mean to you? I believe it is God’s undeserved favor towards mankind.
We agree on repentance and that Jesus is our only hope. Our goodness has to come from the source of all good things—God, who is inherently good. He urges us to come to repentance and, as we read in Romans 2:4, He patiently waits for us: “Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?”
The biblical definition of repentance is “to change one’s mind.” The Bible tells us that when a person repents, his or her actions change. Acts 3:19 says, “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.”
So ask yourself, where is the grace? What you’re doing today does not show others the heart and mind of Christ. It does not reflect the overwhelmingly amount of passages demonstrating His grace, justice, forgiveness, love, mercy, compassion and hope that He has given us.
Most people believe there is a God, and that things happen for a reason. That’s a great place to start a conversation, don’t you think?
Ephesians 6:12 states: For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
So this struggle all of us have is not against the people with whom we disagree, but rather with spiritual forces and principalities we cannot see.
To quote Jarrid Wilson “If you take a moment to look around, you’ll notice that we are very good at showing hate to the people whom God has called us to love. Shame on you. Shame on me. Shame on us. And before you say anything about seeking to keep your brother or sister accountable, please remember that you and I both sin as much as the next person. The goal isn’t that we are to look away when someone is struggling, but instead engage and embrace people in a way that reflects the loving comfort of Christ. A way that shows the love of Jesus. A way that strays from anything to do with hate. Period. When hating the sins of others, people just simply don’t know how to separate the sinner from the sin. I encourage you to instead “Love the sinner, not the sin.” Remove the word hate from your vocabulary, and start reflecting an image of Jesus that portrays him differently than a man standing on a soap-box wielding a megaphone. I can’t ever recall a person who came to faith because of hate. Learn to love like Jesus, serve like Jesus, and forgive like Jesus. Let’s start a movement of people who are willing take hate out of the equation, and love people regardless of their sins.”
Here are some verses let’s read together and discuss:
Consider how Jefferson Bethke explains it: “I believe the Bible tells one story and points to one figure: it tells the story of how God rescues a broken world and points to Christ who accomplishes this. The Bible isn’t a rule book. It’s a love letter. I’m not an employee. I’m a child. It’s not about my performance. It’s about Jesus’ performance for me. Grace isn’t there for some future me but for the real me. The me who struggled. The me who was messy. ….. He loves me in my mess; he was not waiting to meet me until I cleaned myself up.”
You can choose to love those who are different than you. This is Christ’s first command: to love one another. We have both friends and family who are openly gay. We can’t change them but we can and do love them. Only God can change someone’s mind and heart.
Why are you fixated on just one sin? Judge not lest ye be judged. Remember the apostle Paul in noting that we are the greatest of sinners. Only by God’s grace and mercy do we now live. If you want to fight for the sanctity of marriage, start by fighting for your own marriage. Romance our spouse. Make your spouse a priority. Surround yourself with others who are fighting for their marriages. Learn what makes a great marriage. When we do this, we show the world a better way. Also, when called upon to correct someone else, we need to model graciousness and gentleness—not harshness.
Let’s live in such a way to make the world scream, ”I want what they’ve got.”
The Bible teaches us not to be selfish but to treat others as we want to be treated. It teaches us to love one another, help one another, be good and share with one another. If these “rules” are something you have no interest in…it pretty well sums up the kind of person you are. It also assures you that you will live an unfulfilled life and not find the real happiness that is offered to you.
Finally, I attended the funeral of a friend last year, and this one passage is etched in my mind. Please read 2 Timothy 3
Doesn’t this sound like today’s world? Remember to look in the mirror, change and repentance begins inside each and everyone of us.
Finally, I have found that the best way to reach people isn’t by arguing my point of view but by being Christ like in my actions. I’ll never shy away from telling anyone about Jesus but what breaks through to people is to demonstrate authentic care and compassion for them.
“And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, 25 in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth,” – 2 Timothy 2:24-25
Watch, pray, be ready, and Let God Begin Today (LGBT).