Why Don’t We Love Like Jesus?

I had a sort of epiphany in Bible Study class on Sunday morning.  We were discussing evangelism – The Greatest Privilege / Stewardship – and the Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How of doing it.  Look, I do not consider myself to be very “book-wise” when it comes to scripture, so please don’t interpret any of this as me talking down to anyone.  This was simply very eye-opening to me.

The comments that filled my head, but went unspoken, centered on avoiding hypocrisy and focusing on Jesus.  My own experience with a certain Christian church, even though I have been a believer since the age of 13 or so, was filled with hypocrites and void of the love of Christ.  If I, a believer, had an experience like this in a Christian church, how then will unbelievers come to the church, and why would they ever even want to know more about Jesus?

Almost any Christian is familiar with John 3:16.  “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” For me, this verse was the cornerstone of my Christian upbringing.  However, not nearly as many people are familiar with the verses that follow.  John 3:17-18 reads: “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn [or judge, NASB] the world, but to save the world through him.  Whoever believes in him is not condemned [or judged, NASB], but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”

These verses – particularly verse 18 –  affected me in this way:   Far too many publicly or socially visible Christians today focus on everything but Jesus.  What non-Christians see and hear is “Abortion is murder!”, “Homosexuality is an abomination!”, and other issues-based outcries.  Who are we to judge?  Yes, we claim our beliefs are based on scripture, which in our own minds validates our righteous anger.  If anyone, ever, had the right to judge, and cast stones, and turn his back on humanity as a whole, it was Christ.  And yet he did not come to judge, and still does not judge… those who believe.

Why then, are we not focused on making believers out of those with whom we do not agree, instead of trying to change their views?  Why do we not simply seek to embody the love of Jesus to others, and trust the Holy Spirit to move their hearts to change according to His will?  Do you really think you’re going to get your gay neighbor to come to church with you, and to want to know more about Jesus, by telling him that he is going to go to hell unless he becomes straight?  Embody the unconditional love of Christ.

Here is another way to look at it.  If Christ was physically here on Earth right now, would He be at your church?  Would He be at any church?  I don’t think so.  During his lifetime on Earth, Jesus sought out those who most thought to be untouchable:  prostitutes, lepers, adulterers, thieves, tax collectors, and more.  It was here, among these, that His love and grace was most powerfully displayed.

John 3:16 says, “…whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  Period.  It does not say, “…whoever believes in him, and always votes Republican, shall not perish but have eternal life.”  It does not say, “…whoever believes in him, and hasn’t had an abortion, shall not perish but have eternal life.”  And while the Bible does say that homosexuals “shall not inherit the kingdom of God”, John 3:16 does not say, “…whoever believes in him, and is not a homosexual, shall not perish but have eternal life.”  “Whoever believes in him is not condemned”.  There is no condemnation in Christ.

This is not to say that we turn a blind eye on the sins of the world, which affect us all.  During that same Bible study lesson, we also read 2 Timothy 4:2-4, which says, “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction.  For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine.  Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.  They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.”  We must somehow find a balance between condoning and condemning.

I don’t have all the answers.  I have no divine understanding of scripture.  But I think this is pretty clear:  “Whoever believes in him is not condemned [or judged, NASB].”  The focus is not to be on something as trivial as Republican or Democrat or Tea Party.  It is not to be on baptism by sprinkle or submersion.  It is not to be on denominational differences.  It is not to be on racial or socioeconomic differences, or differences in sexual orientation.  The focus must be Christ.  To love like Jesus, we must keep the focus on Him.

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~ by suitenectar on November 8, 2010.

3 Responses to “Why Don’t We Love Like Jesus?”

  1. Well said.

  2. I truly agree it’s as if they are trying to clean the fish before they catch it. Good post.

    Coretta Silvers

  3. AMEN!

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