This year has brought out the gold in some people and exceptional cruelty/the worst in others. I call it an unveiling year. We always had issues in my nation; now they are more visible.
I understand there has been stress, uncertainty, life changes, and for some they are living on the edge. We all need grace, kindness, the benefit of the doubt, and mercy is greater than judgement. Then there is a time to stand up, speak out, and set boundaries with people who are way out of line.
I do not know about you, yet I have witnessed things in cultural “Christianity” that do not align with God love (unselfish, sacrificial love).
Face Mask Mania:
I have witnessed grown adults having 2 year old tantrums over face masks. Some have cursed out store employees, destroyed property, and given others COVID. Wearing a mask to demonstrate to your neighbor you care about them is not being weak. It’s actually loving to consider other people.
I have heard people say, “Well, I am not afraid, and this is violating my rights.” Yet the same people wear clothes and shoes into the stores. Those are mandatory. The same people wear seat belts. Those are mandatory. The same people yield to traffic signs.
Sometimes loving our neighbors costs us something. I know of people who have died from COVID. My parents are much older (I came later in life). If someone could have prevented them from getting COVID and chose not to attesting their rights, and my parents died, I would be furious! Yes, God heals. Yes, God protects. God also considers people who are afraid, hurting, not healed, have no health insurance, etc.
I want to make a t-shirt for my merch site that says, “It’s not just about you. I looked at the center of the Universe and found God, not your photo.”
Jesus stated, “Love your neighbor AS you love yourself.” I know this is challenging and can only be done by abiding in Jesus. I have to ask God to help me love some people and to walk in love. I am not perfect. I am still being refined. I try to let Him love through me.
Jesus could have been the biggest ego maniac as the Son of God. Meaning His status was and is King of kings. He chose humility. Humility involves lowering ourselves and considering others.
Degrading and Mocking:
I have been talked down to, mocked, and treated poorly by “Christians” because of my stance against racist things and posting about racism this year. I am accustomed to churchy people attacking me because I do not just go along with the crowd.
There are people degrading and mocking other human beings while claiming to be pro-life. I have seen “Christians” stand up and support a murderer aligned with their political party, yet claim to be pro-life. Some have celebrated the death of someone who was pro-choice. I have seen people using another person’s tragedy to promote their political agenda (using a miscarriage to drag a pro-choice person through the mud). I have heard racist comments from professing “Christians”, leaders, pastors, people claiming to represent Jesus. I have seen levels of dishonor from professing believers that was and is absolutely demonic. It’s not how Jesus behaves nor how He behaved. It is from the pit.
I want to say this clearly. The world watches the way Christians behave. They often see the hypocrisy of the church better than anyone in the church. I have spoken to quite a few people about their gross disappointment with the church especially in the areas of justice, addressing racism, politics (turning a blind eye to gross sin in their chosen political party or political leader while screaming “You’re evil,” at them, for not caring about those terrified about COVID, and noticing extreme arrogance in people claiming to be a Christian especially those who are in a leadership or government role.
I may lose followers for posts like these, yet my loyalty is to Jesus. Despite behaviors of pastors, leaders, other Christians, politicians, and even the President-we answer to God for ourselves! If we claim to be a Christian, Jesus is the standard. God looks at how we live, notes everything we say, and we will give an account for how we represented Him on earth.
I hear people say they would die for Jesus. No you wouldn’t if you won’t even put on a face mask to help those around you. I hear people say they want to lead millions into knowing Jesus. Well, that involves sacrifice and dying to self. Would anyone want to know Jesus by the lifestyle we live in front of them? I see people running away from God due to political and rude professing Christians.
This whole notion that we are the center of the Universe and not God, is not only unbiblical, it’s dangerous. It is dangerous because we can think we are following Jesus when we are actually not following Jesus at all.
I am reading through the entire bible and right now I am in Matthew. The things Jesus said were radical. “If your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out,” meaning we are responsible for our actions. He did not say, “Blame the other person and scream about your rights.”
Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” I could hear Jesus preaching this today and people screaming, “No Jesus! Blessed are ALL people. All people are blessed!!” There is something wrong when we make everything about us.
Something is wrong in a culture where there is zero consideration for others. Something is wrong when Christians are linked to cruelty rather than compassion. Something is wrong when the behavior of the church looks more like the world than Jesus.
I have ceased looking at my personal Facebook until I can clean it out due to the conflict “Christians” have caused on my page. No person should feel hostage or bullied on their own page. Why is this happening? People think my page is their territory to say whatever they like and quite a few love to make posts about them, especially the posts addressing racism. It’s funny the most vocal have not been recipients of racism. However, they show up to debate me or offer opinions regarding things they do not understand. They are harmful!!! I had to start a private, unseen group to discuss racism safely with people of color.
Who have been the ones causing strife on my page? Professing Christians. I ask this question, “Is this who we are?” Do we truly want to be lumped in the category of cruel, selfish, lacking compassion, mean spirited, narcissistic, uncaring, apathetic, mockers? I know Jesus is none of those things.
My encouragement to the world is “Let’s do better!” My encouragement to Christians is, “Please consider Jesus as the standard, not leaders of our time. Choose Jesus. Follow Jesus.” The same Jesus who flipped over tables and rebuked people to their faces was willing to die on a cross for them. I meet people who will not even endure 10 minutes of being uncomfortable to show love to someone else.
My hopes are people are pointed at the real Jesus! The Jesus who washed feet even though He was king. The Jesus who denied Himself and chose death to give us life. He put Himself in harms way to save our lives. Jesus who went out of His way to demonstrate unselfish, sacrificial love. Are we? Do people seen any hint of Jesus in us? Because we are walking billboards for Him. He wants the world to know Him. Jesus came to point the world to the Father. We have an incredible opportunity to do the same.
God gave the church copious opportunities in 2020 to demonstrate His love, compassion, selflessness, helping hand, and work for justice. Are we adding value anywhere other than our comfy Christian bubbles? The world around us is hurting.
Church buildings may have closed. Street corners did not. I have gone out on the streets almost every month this year; feeding people, clothing people, praying for people, sharing the Gospel, going to protest sites to love people, etc…Operation God is love paid for groceries for families laid off by COVID. One month we had a line of hungry people because no one was coming to feed them. Jesus does not stop being Jesus in a crisis. Jesus shows up with solutions. He invites His followers to do the same.
May we sink into Jesus, follow Jesus, and represent Him well.