I don't like drama. I was raised to avoid it, and so often, I grit my teeth and shake my head and stay silent for far too long. Frustration festers, and I preach a bit on social media, angry at the way words trample human frailty and religious right becomes a cause to be championed, rather than a safe place for the poor and needy.
My greatest fear is not relativism. It's not the corruption of the world, or persecution of the church, or attempts to silence that which offends a vocal society. What I most fear is that God's people will unknowingly turn away souls in need of rescue. I fear that those who preach their truth in anger, rather than love, will exacerbate the cycle of opposing voices vying to silence each other. All feeling attacked, each offended, and every one of us in need of healing.
I believe there are many in the church, and outside it's walls, who have met a loving God, but not come to the place of living Grace day by day. I believe there are many who still need healing in the inner places, church leaders and congregation members who are yet very broken. And I speak the truth, without shame, that I still need daily grace. I, too, need my Healer's work to go deeper still.
So my heart hurts when hostilities volley across a chasm with shouts and angry words, and I see only a widening of the man made divide. I recognize that my sins are no better than the ones listed in I Corinthians 6- in fact, I often need cleansing from 21st century idolatry (though 'perfectionism' sounds less offensive) and I battle greed too. After all isn't it the American way- build a dream of mortar and stones and punctuate with Pinterest and gourmet crafting? Addiction sounds evil when it's drugs or sex, but what about when it's shopping? These are my sins, and they are real, and impartially destructive.
It is man who rates sin, not God. Jesus lived hard truths, likening anger to murder, and granting audacious forgiveness- even socializing with those society shunned. Did he judge the woman who'd had multiple husbands and was living with her lover? No. But he did question those who placed religious practices above relationship with God. He stunned those who considered themselves defenders of God's ways by calling them white washed walls. Let us never forget that we are each wretched without the Lover of our souls.
I'd love to see Christians who live like the historical Christ. Not the Americanized, anglicized version of him. I'd like to see followers of Jesus who are more concerned with inner wellness than making a pretty picture for the world to see. I'd love to see more authenticity, and a lot more grace. It is possible only through connectedness to the One whose very nature is infinite love.
My own journey through the healing process began when I learned to forgive. And then, there was the moment, when Love reached down into the depths of my despair and cradled me. There was no accusation or pressure, no remarks as to what sins should be stamped out of my life. There was no condemnation, only unabashed grace.
This encounter transformed my understanding of God. I knew him, not as judge, but pure, holy, all encompassing love, and I thirst for more of him. I know that if God's people could simply reflect his heart for a hurting world lives would be rescued and hearts would be healed.
So church, Christians, seekers of God, I ask only one thing: suspend the judging of mortal flesh, and nestle in to Jesus. Seek more of Him, his indwelling, his character to shine through, especially in the way you treat those who disagree with you. Remember that "the opposition" is made up of tender hearts, real people who are flesh and blood, and the battle is not won when we wound. The battle will only, and always, be won with lavish love. Love is the only power that can bridge the aching abyss to redeem a life.
This week, Ann Voskamp wrote, "Grace is air- without it, we all die." If grace is air, then Love is the power to transform lives, and our God would revolutionize a single soul any day.