Ticking Off the Wrong People!
Have you noticed that churches and high-profile religious leaders are often opposed to sinners? They rail against the drunkards, adulterers, pornographers, abusers, liars, and cheats.
And I think I get that. After all, Scripture calls us to live differently than that. We’re to aspire to be Christlike! No matter how you slice it, Jesus followers are called to be moral citizens of the Reign of God.
But then I look at Jesus. Ironically, he befriended the sinners, tax collectors, and outcasts. Oh, he was no less a moralist in his teachings — read Matthew 5 – 7 and the high calling of following the Lord. Even so, he broke laws and social customs to cross the boundaries to scallywags, shysters, ne’er-do-wells, and scoundrels.
If the antithesis of some religious leaders today are the wayward who are scolded and shamed from pulpits, then why don’t we say the same of Jesus? Those who resisted the Savior weren’t the reprobate but the hyper-religious folk. They mocked him, ridiculed him, told lies about him, unjustly accused and tried him, and fueled the effort to kill him.
So, if we are to be Christlike, then maybe our foes shouldn’t be the sinners but the religious folks who have it all figured out.
Dave Barry wrote, “The problem with writing about religion is that you run the risk of offending sincerely religious people, and then they come after you with machetes.”
A Deeper Look
All this causes me to look deeper at me. Does my religiosity oppose God? Do I put God in a box and tame the Almighty to the point that I can’t hear God challenging me? Do I use faith to shame the sinner rather than redeem the lost? Do I sometimes throw the first stone?
My desire instead is to live the grace God has showered on me and I pray God would help me live out that desire so it is more than a good wish!
To God be the glory.