If you have ever been hurt by someone who called themselves a Christian, I am sorry.
If you have not experienced the radical love that all Christians were called to give, I am sorry.
If you have found yourself in a place where there is only darkness, and Christians only brought you down, I am sorry.
Our first and greatest commandment, given to us by Jesus Christ himself, was from Matthew 22:37-38, to the love the Lord our God with everything that we have. Our second greatest commandment was to love our neighbors as we love ourselves, Matthew 22:39-40. Is it not meaningful that directly after the commandment to love our Father, Jesus tells us to love our neighbors, to love radically and without conditions? Is it not meaningful that we are also called to love our enemies despite our persecution?
We are called to be the salt and light of the world (Matthew 5:13-16). We are called to lead others closer to Jesus by showing them the love that He showed us, but if we approach people we deem “unworthy” and label them “sinners” without showing the Gospel love that we are meant to spread, are we not endangering our mission? Are we not driving people away because instead, we are taking God’s sacrificial, unconditional love, and making it into something legalistic and conditional? It is so easy for us Christians to immediately judge someone based on the precedent of what a Christian is supposed to be, but we are rarely ever close to what that standard holds. In fact, the precedent of a Christian is Jesus Christ Himself, and we are NEVER the person that He was when he walked this earth. All we can do is strive to be like Him, and the first step in achieving this is to love radically.
It is never our place to condemn and judge someone based on the sins that they have committed. We are called to reconcile with the negative, not point fingers and inflate their sins. We are always so good at painting ourselves to seem beautiful because we feel that we deserve our beauty, when in fact, the entire basis of the Gospel is that we did not deserve our beauty. It is through Grace, and through Grace alone that we are able to call ourselves Christians. It is through Love (capital L) that we were forgiven of the one thing within us that we feel is unforgivable. But where is the outward gratitude? Where is the action that is required once we receive this Good News?
The truth of the matter is, we as Christians understand in our own little bubble that we have this amazing gift––the gift of eternal forgiveness and Gracious Love. We take these gifts to ourselves, and we never want to release it to the world because we feel like no one else will understand. We are called to be reflections of Jesus Christ, yet we point fingers and leave people out of the Gospel (or translated from the Greek, “Good News”). Jesus hung out with PROSTITUTES! We can’t even bring ourselves to hang out with someone who drank alcohol ONE TIME. Why do we feel that we are better than Jesus Himself where we do not want to stoop to His level to be with murderers and thieves?
I love you. God loves you. We want to love you, we’re just bad at it. I promise that we are not usually judgemental because we know ourselves that without God’s forgiveness, a lot of us would not be on this earth today. If you have been hurt by me, I am sorry. If I failed to show you the Love that God so graciously showed to me, I am sorry. The truth is, I have such Good News in my heart, and I want to share it with you. I am just afraid that I will be judged too, and it’s easier to hang with a Christian crowd, with people that understand me. But I know my sheltered bubble will pop one day, and I will have to speak with people that do not know this Love. I am sorry that we as a community have failed to love radically and unconditionally. We welcome you and want to do life with you. Please give us one more chance to shine a light on the Truth that holds us steady in our lives.