I have been having this conversation with my friends as of late, I am coming to the sad conclusion that “Christians” are the most judgmental people on this planet. I put Christians in quotations because I’m not talking about serious Christ-followers who are denying themselves, taking up their cross daily. I’m talking about churchy people. These are the folks that love quoting the Bible out of context, love talking about the speck in their brother’s eye, and then usually don’t live what they’re selling.
What I find interesting is that these people weren’t judgmental before they made a profession of faith. This seems to be something that came with their introductory class! People who aren’t Christians say that judgment and hypocrisy are the 2 words they think of when they hear the word “Christian.” That grieves me to no end. How about love? Jesus was the friend of tax collectors and sinners (Matt. 11:19). Understand, this doesn’t just mean that He held the door open for them at the supermarket. This means He hung out with them. He was someone they count on and maybe in some instances, He could count on them (How about that for a wild thought – Jesus with a secular CPA!).
What was it about Jesus that made Him so comfortable to be around, even if you didn’t live like Him. It certainly wasn’t condemnation and scripture stabbing (Bible thumping for those in the old school). Perhaps it was that Jesus had something to offer that others did not, but He didn’t flaunt it or point it out in a humiliating way. He just lived among us (John 1:18) and the fullness of His life drew people to Him like a mosquito to a glowing blue light.
I’m in Orlando today with my family and I’m amazed at how nice everyone is at the places we are visiting. Why? Because when they see my family or anyone else for that matter, they see dollar signs. And that prompts them to show me kindness and respect. Yet somehow Church people have decided there’s no need to show kindness and respect to “outsiders.” That’s why the church has lost its’ influence in society. While no one has a problem with Jesus, I think people are scared to become Christians (Little Christs) because they think that will turn them into church people. I am so saddened that those who should know Jesus best are hurting the cause that He died for the most.
Friends, Jesus came to start a revolution that was grounded in love. His death was not just substitutionary act of atonement. It was an act of love! The stories we tell to explain God’s greatest act of love we turn into a courtroom scene where God the Father is a judge with an itchy trigger finger and Jesus calms Him down and pays the fine for us. What would happen if we recognize that the cross is simply what someone who is madly in love does? When I met my wife I did extreme things to prove my love. Perhaps this was God’s extreme way. I think Paul would agree…
“But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him.” (Romans 5:8)
Friends, if we look more like Judge Wapner than Jesus, then we have created a Frankenstein with parts of the Christian life and our own desire to seem superior to others. So let’s start today. Let’s decide that we REFUSE to let followers of Jesus be known as people who are rude, judgmental, and critical! Let’s prove to the world that Jesus is alive and well in each of us by living out His example of loving the unlovable, tolerating the intolerable, and giving grace to those who need it most. Then people will flock to Jesus now as they did when He was in the flesh; when they feel the unconditional love that God has for them through us – the people who claim to know Him best…
Happy Independence Day!